Things Just Got Worse in the Johnston Case

In my earlier post I noted how bad the Johnston case was, now it just took a turn for the worse.

It was Fabian Sheats’ third felony drug arrest in four months. But on the afternoon of Nov. 21, according to a police report, he was looking to curry favor, so he told officers they could find a kilogram of cocaine in a house at 933 Neal Street N.W.

That encounter led police to the home of Kathryn Johnston, an elderly woman who lived alone behind burglar bars and kept a rusty revolver. When officers burst into the house just three hours after talking to Sheats, a shootout ensued that left the woman dead and three officers wounded. No cocaine was found.

Sheats’ arrest report, made public Thursday, sheds new light on why officers targeted Johnston’s home.

Police say they used Sheats’ tip to direct a confidential informant to the Neal Street house, where he made a drug buy, leading them to conduct the raid. A man named Alexis White later came forward to say he is a longtime informant and police asked him to lie after the shootings and say he bought drugs at the address. Police will not say who the informant was.

So, the basis for the raid was the word of this Fabian Sheats who clearly was trying to curry favor with the cops in the hopes of getting some leniency. Further, that there is another confidential informant and that White was called after the shooting to help the police cover their butts.

So lets recap:

Also, it looks like the cops were not above intimidating White, the informant they wanted to lie for them,

A tape of a 911 call released Thursday added a strange twist to the ever-changing tragedy.

On the tape, an insistent and anxious-sounding man identifying himself as White told an operator, “I have two cops chasing me. They’re on the dirty side, two undercover officers.”

[snip]

On the 911 tape police released Thursday, White said he was waiting for agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to pick him up on Nov. 22 when he was approached by Atlanta police. He got into the car with them, he told the operator, but jumped out when he talked to federal agents by cellphone and they told him not to get into the squad car.

“They came and picked me up they asked me about that killing yesterday,” White told the operator. “But, ah, they tryin’ to play it off. So ATF told me ‘Don’t get in the car with them.’ By that time then, I was already in the car with ’em.”

The operator sounded incredulous. “OK, so you’re calling the police to say the police are chasing you?” she asked.

“Listen to me,” the frustrated White responded. “I don’t know who’s on whose side; they’re playing dirty,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on.”

At this point, I’m also highly suspicious of the marijuana found at the house. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that it was planted by the cops. After all, they are liars and one of them has used his police powers to protect himself.

With cops like this who needs criminals?

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. zara says:

    Well, no — what that article says is that Sheats’s statement led the police to send a CI in to make a buy. And the warrant was based, as we already knew, on the buy ostensibly made by the CI. And the only reason to think that this CI was Alexis White is, apparently, that White says so.
    I’m not saying anything about the propriety of the police conduct here, or whether there really was another informant or anything — just that this article doesn’t seem to say what you think it does.

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    And the only reason to think that this CI was Alexis White is, apparently, that White says so.

    No, I think you mis-read, White was called in after the fact, not prior to the raid. My guess is that their initial CI either didn’t exist or is unreliable, whereas White is probably more reliable. They wanted him to claim to be the CI to cover some ass.

    I’m not saying anything about the propriety of the police conduct here, or whether there really was another informant or anything — just that this article doesn’t seem to say what you think it does.

    I points out again that the police are liars. Further, it is my guess is that within the time that all this happened there was no other CI, that the cops took a short cut and were relying on the anonymity of the CI to work for them.

    You know there is a saying, when you are in a hole stop digging. The cops just can’t seem to stop digging and as a result they are all dirty. And unfortunately all of them now look dirty. Sure, I imagine that most are fine police officers who are serius about doing a good job. Unfortunately with the “thin blue line” mentality and all the mutual butt covering us poor “little people”–read non-cops–can’t tell which cops are clean and which are dirty. One strategy is to play assuming all are dirty. It may not be fair, but “grim strategies” like this are, in game theory terms, possible equilibriums that that the game can settle on.

  3. Steve Verdon says:

    Oh and recall that White says he never went to that house, so it doesn’t fit with your reading of the story.