Update on the Johnston Case
It looks like the impossible has finally happned. The cops who shot and killed Kathryn Johnston are going to face murder charges. Typically when a police officer shoots an innocent pretty much nothing happens to the officer. They get what amounts to a slap on the wrist and the county, city or state forks over a large settlement when a civil suit is brought. District Attorneys typically cut the cops a great deal of slack when it comes to questionable shootings (e.g. the Sal Culosi case), but not this time. I guess there was so much about this raid/shooting that stank that the DA finally had to bring charges.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard will seek criminal charges, including felony murder, against three Atlanta narcotics officers involved in a botched drug raid that resulted in the shooting death of an elderly woman, according to a proposed indictment.
The proposed indictment drawn up by the prosecutor’s office names officers Gregg Junnier, Jason R. Smith and Arthur Tesler. Howard accuses them of felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, burglary, making false statements and violation of oath.
Based on all the information reported in the media over the past several months it seems pretty clear that these officers lied to a judge, obtained a warrant based on those lies, then broke into Kathryn Johnston’s home and when Johnston defended herself they shot and killed her. If this is indeed what happened I hope all three police officers are convicted and go to jail for a very long time.
Atlanta police Sgt. Scott Kreher, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, called reports that prosecutors would seek indictments against the officers “sad.”
“I think any time law enforcement officer is accused of a crime, we all sit back and wonder what went wrong and look within ourselves in what we do day to day,” Kreher said. “Hopefully, if it’s presented to a grand jury and there isn’t enough evidence, they will send back a no bill.”
I think the Johnston family is being overly optimistic. The FBI likes their no-knock raids and it seems possible that a federal investigation could clear the officers of any wrong doing.