Lately I’ve been blogging about some scandalous behavior by Chicago Cops. There’s been some bad stuff in the news, with more to come, but the Windy City has nothing going on that remotely compares to what happened in Atlanta last November.
That’s when Atlanta cops shot and killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston during a drug raid. When the cops entered her home, she apparently didn’t realize they were cops and took a shot at them. They shot back. Three cops were wounded, and Johnston was killed.
At the time, I was pissed off that yet another innocent person was killed in yet another SWAT-style drug raid, but I didn’t blame the officers involved. They had a warrant giving them the legal authority to enter her home, and they also had a moral right to self defense when she shot at them, even though she also believed she was shooting in self-defense. It’s a monumentally stupid policy that creates situations like this, but that’s not the cops’ fault that they got in the situation, and once they got in it, they did what they had to do.
Or so I thought.
However, the feds have been investigating the incident, and their allegations paint a different picture. A horrifying picture.
According to recently released documents, the raid was apparently based entirely on information from a suspected drug dealer named Fabian Sheats who made a deal to get out of a drug bust…a drug bust which turns out to be a sham. The cops had a bunch of marijuana in the trunk of their car from another case, and they planted some of it at the scene and then called a K-9 unit to come and “find” it to implicate Sheats. To get out of this frame, Sheats pointed out a house and said he bought drugs there from a guy named Sam and saw more drugs on the premises.
Sheats was not an approved confidential informant—meaning he had never given them reliable information before—so his statement would be difficult to use on a warrant application, so the cops made up a better story and got their warrant. To justify a no-knock entry, they told the judge the building had security cameras, meaning the dealers inside could see them coming and destroy the evidence unless they entered quickly. These cameras did not exist.
So, even before the disastrous invasion of Johnston’s house, the cops had already stolen drug evidence from another case, lied to a fellow officer, framed Sheats for for drug dealing, and perjured themselves to get a warrant.
None of this would matter once they grabbed Sam and all his drugs, because nobody would ever take a close look at the warrant. It should have worked just fine for the cops.
But not only were these Atlanta cops corrupt, they were also spectacularly incompetent. When the raid started, it took them two minutes to break down the door. They had lost all tactical surprise. Any dealer inside had plenty of time to dump a lot of drugs down the drain. They might as well have just knocked on the door and politely served the warrant on whoever answered. Their violent entry was pointless.
It was even worse than that, however, because nothing Sheats told them was true. There were no drugs in the house, and there was nobody named Sam living there. Just Kathryn Johnston and her gun.
While the cops were breaking down her door, the 92-year old grandmother had plenty of time to get her gun, and when the cops came through the door she took a single shot at them. The police responded by gunning down everyone in the house. And I mean everyone.
Remember when I said that three cops were wounded? Since the crime scene investigators found the bullet from Johnston’s single shot in a porch roof, it’s clear she didn’t actually shoot anybody. That’s right. These corrupt thugs had shot each other.
In a way, it’s karma. They lied and broke the law in order to create a dangerously violent situation, and they got themselves shot. Unfortunately, they also shot Kathryn Johnston. Five or six times.
While she was lying on the floor of her house, bleeding and dying, the cops handcuffed her and then started planning how to frame her as a drug dealer. They got more drugs from the trunk of their car and “found” them in her home. They talked another informant into saying he bought drugs at the house to back up their story.
Obviously, their cover-up didn’t work. This whole story of crime and stupidity comes from an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They got it from the feds who investigated the incident. The feds got it when one of the cops involved made a deal and confessed.
I’m not a lawyer, but this sounds like felony murder. That’s what they call it when someone dies as an accidental result of a felony. For example, if a criminal starts a gunfight with the police, and a police bullet kills an innocent bystander, the criminal is charged with felony murder because he created a dangerous condition by breaking the law and starting the gunfight. In this case, it was the police who broke the law and started the gunfight. Therefore, according to the felony murder rule, Kathryn Johnston was murdered by Atlanta police officers.