Skip to comments.Chief vows to review shooting
Posted on 11/28/2006 5:31:14 AM PST by from occupied ga
Five days after an elderly woman was killed in a gun battle that left three officers wounded, Atlanta police chief Richard Pennington said Sunday night his department will review its policy on "no knock" warrants and its use of confidential informants.
Speaking for the first time since the Tuesday night shooting death of Kathryn Johnston at her home in northwest Atlanta, Pennington said his office "will turn over every stone to make sure we get to the reason why this tragic incident happened."
Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington says the policy on 'no knock' warrants will be reviewed.
Pennington provided little new information on what led to the confrontation at 933 Neal St. when narcotics officers seeking to serve a warrant broke down the front door and exchanged gunfire with Johnston.
Earlier that day, a man named "Sam" had sold drugs from inside the house to an informant, police said, prompting officers to seek a "no-knock" warrant. Such warrants are frequently issued so police can get inside a home before suspects can destroy or flush drugs.
Johnston described by neighbors and family as a frightened woman who had burglar bars on her windows and door and rarely let friends and neighbors into her home had lived at the one-story brick home near the Georgia Dome for 17 years.
The police chief said officers found marijuana inside the house but "not a large quantity." Previously, police only said drugs were seized at Johnston's home.
Pennington was out of town last week for the Thanksgiving holiday and said he was unable to get a flight back to Atlanta earlier. He said he had not talked to the officers involved in the shooting, but he had been briefed by his commanders.
The chief said he did not know the contents of the sworn statement that police provided to a judge to obtain the warrant. "I will have it [Monday]," he said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, at the request of the Fulton County District Attorney's Office, is looking into the incident, including examining the home to determine how many gunshots were fired in the confrontation. GBI spokesman John Bankhead said it will take several more weeks before results are available.
Pennington spoke with reporters at Lindsay Street Baptist Church after a meeting with civil rights activist the Rev. Markell Hutchins.
Hutchins leaves for Washington this morning to deliver a letter to the U.S. Justice Department calling for a federal investigation into "what we believe are at worst, gross violations of this woman's life, and at best, poor judgment on the part of the police officers."
Pennington said he welcomes any investigation into the shooting.
Sunday night, Hutchins said he was satisfied with what Pennington shared, citing a law enforcement agency's "right to protect the integrity of its investigation."
"I did not ask him any confidential questions that I should not be privy to," he said. "I appreciated that he came down to reassure us that he will do everything that needs to be done to look into this."
Johnston's family could not be reached for comment. Hutchins, who is acting as their spokesman, said he had not had a chance to speak with them after he met with Pennington.
Also Sunday, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office corrected reports on Johnston's age. The family had said that Johnston was 92, but the medical examiner's office said records show she was 88.
Police described their suspect as a 6-foot-tall man weighing 250 to 260 pounds. Johnston's niece, Sarah Dozier, has said her aunt lived alone.
The officers were not wearing uniforms but had on bulletproof vests with "Police" emblazoned across the front and back. And they identified themselves as they burst through the doors, police said.
Johnston grabbed a rusty six-shot revolver and emptied it. Five shots struck the officers, hitting one of them three times. The other two were each hit once. The officers returned fire, shooting Johnston twice in the chest and elsewhere, police have said.
The three officers were released from the hospital the next day. They are on leave with pay.
Funeral plans for Johnston have not been made.
Staff writer Jeffry Scott contributed to this article.
Then he could see jack-booted thugs in action? Is that what you're saying? Sounds like it. They're not jack-booted thugs until they are?
What "put them there in the first place" is what everyone wants to know, but it appears NOT to be competent police work. The police are guilty of incompetence and murder.
Gestapo tactics - The Waffen SS would have leveled the building and killed everybody in it...
Something to look forward to. Although the only thing missing is leveling the building since the old lady was the sole occupant.
The cops did NOT buy drugs in her home. They claimed a confidential informant did the buying. Keep your ears peeled to the news as you may find out the informant denies he bought drugs at that address, or that he was ever there...
Why would anyone leave and miss the high comedy you provide?
Ok, hang on. The guys had a legal search warrant. (we can absolutely wonder if that warrant was valid, but THAT is a court issue too) She opened fire, the officers returned fire. That is not murder. (wronglful death? perhaps, but NOT murder)
I don't think ANYONE thinks this started well or turned out well. Let's just not call the cops murderers, OK?
That is their current story, but they first claimed that an undercover officer bought drugs there. They also claimed that they found narcotics, but then later changed this to a "small quantity of marjuana" Two lies by the police so far.
Although I have a decent array of firearms, my "personal protection" weapon, kept loaded and hidden, but only a few steps away, is an Astra 960 .38 revolver. You armchair cowboys with your bragging about your 1911's, Glocks and "big hole" guns can have them. This old lady made *5 hits* faster than you guys could clear a smokestack from one of your tempermental auto-queens.
Johnston grabbed a rusty six-shot revolver and emptied it. Five shots struck the officers
Although I have a decent array of firearms, my "personal protection" weapon, kept loaded and hidden, but only a few steps away, is an Astra 960 .38 revolver.
You armchair cowboys with your bragging about your 1911's, Glocks and "big hole" guns can have them. This old lady made *5 hits* faster than you guys could clear a smokestack from one of your tempermental auto-queens.
Two things. I'm impressed that you understood my posts - most people with your condition have a severe lack of ability to comprehend much of anything, and second, your documented slavish love of government is what provides the comic relief on a nominally conservative site.
Is it true that you're the president of the Lon Hourouchi fan club?
As I said, police informants are soooooo reliable. They would never lie for their payoff or to save they sorry criminal rear ends from being busted...
Of course they would never lie to save their sorry butts from the public or to get their 15 minutes from the media, either.
What brought the law enforcement officers to the eldery woman's door in the first place? I am still placing money that some of the distraught relatives of this woman were selling drugs out of her house. Again, a case of elder abuse that will be swept under the rug as the whole focus will be on how awful the officers were.
Legalized murder is still murder. The cops broke into this woman's home with the intent to kill anyone who threatened them. There are other methods that can be used to apprehend drug dealers.
The 4th amendment was written to provide protection from EXACTLY this kind of police abuse. A warrant rubber stamped by a judge who doesn't take the time to make the sure the police have done their homework is worthless and, in my opinion, is not a legal warrant that the "beat cops" should act on. The beat cops should say no, this isn't right.
I think you're probably on target. But that isn't going to satisfy most of the folks on this thread; and relying on an informant was a mistake, too.
I agree that counting on just one person's information should only happen in a true life and death situation. There should have been some more coordination of information about the house. But then again, we don't know how long and how many times this house has been observed doing drug deals. If it goes to a trial at least we can get some of our questions answered.
No one will really know what 'put them there' in the first place. Their "confidential informant" has alread admitted that he NEVER bought drugs there and that HE WAS TOLD BY THE POLICE to say THAT HE HAD. How much plainer does this story have to be for you to see that something is definitely wrong with the APD. I live in Georgia too and they are a joke, period.