If you haven’t heard of Kathryn Johnston shooting, you aren’t alone. What is perhaps the greatest tragedy surrounding Kathryn’s death is the slap-on-the-wrist punishment handed down to her killers. Three former Atlanta police officers were sentenced fairly light prison terms that ranged only from five to 10 years for Johnson’s death.
These sentences were determined in spite of the fact that the officers were not only convicted of the killing, but of covering up the botched drug raid that led to the 92-year-old woman being killed.
Johnston was shot five times during a raid that took place in her Atlanta home back in 2007. In those days social media was not what it is today, and YouTube was in its infancy. Massive protests against police brutality and murder were rare, often unheard of in some parts of the United States. As a result, public pressure on the legal system to give fitting punishments to the offending officers was relatively non-existent.
Because of that former officer Jason Smith was sentenced to only 10 years for the November 2006 raid. Former officers Greg Junnier and Arthur Tesler received tiny six and five year sentences. That means, if you do the math, these two officers are due out sometime this year. Both, as well as their former department were hoping this little detail would escape public attention this year.
Investigators determined the entire raid on Johnston’s home should never have happened.
The raid was conducted based upon what was later determined to be falsified paperwork. Those documents claimed that “illegal drugs” were present at the residence. That was proven entirely false.
This incident supposedly prompted a “major overhaul” of the Atlanta Police Department’s drug unit, but many within the community say that nothing has changed.
“Officers who think, as these defendants once did, that the ends justify the means or that ‘taking shortcuts’ and telling lies will not be discovered and punished should realize that they are risking their careers and their liberty,” U.S. Attorney David Nahmias wrote in a statement.
“Officers who try to obstruct justice when their misconduct faces exposure, rather than cooperating in the investigation, should realize that they will face even more severe punishment.”
All three former officers pleaded guilty to the federal charges of “conspiracy to violate civil rights resulting in death.”
Both Smith and Junnier also pleaded guilty to state charges of “voluntary manslaughter” and “making false statements.”
Smith even admitted to planting bags of marijuana in the house after they shot at her 39 times. In spite of that, two of these men are getting out of prison this year.
U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes handed down the slap-on-the-wrist punishment, ordering the minor prison terms, followed by three short years of supervised release after they are out. They were also ordered to split Johnston’s funeral costs of $8,180. That’s what Judge Carnes is calling “justice.”
The raid was executing as a so-called “no-knock” search, based on fabricated claims of crack sales from Johnston’s house.
When police broke in to her house, they say Johnston fired at them with an old pistol. They shot back with 39 rounds, hitting her five times.
Prosecutors claim that the officers “regularly presented false information to obtain warrants and that they cut corners to make more time for lucrative side jobs providing additional security to businesses, often while on duty, and receiving cash payments,” according to CNN.
“As Atlanta police narcotics officers, these three defendants repeatedly failed to follow proper procedures and then lied under oath to obtain search warrants,” Nahmias explained. “Their routine violations of the Fourth Amendment led to the death of an innocent citizen.”
Investigators tell us that the further they dug into this case, the more dirt they found. The investigation also resulted in guilty pleas from the police sergeant who was heading up the narcotics unit as well as another officer who admitted to extortion.
The Atlanta Police hope you don’t notice they’re letting two of these killer cops out of jail. Help SPREAD THE WORD and let everyone know that cops who MURDER should not be back on the street!
(Article by M. David)
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