Law Enforcement: Atlanta Narcs to Be Indicted for Murder by State -- Federal Investigation Could Be Hurt

Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Paul Howard is moving to indict three Atlanta narcotics officers on charges including murder in the killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, who opened fire on invading undercover officers executing an apparently bogus "no-knock" search warrant. But Johnston's family is not happy, fearing any state indictment could hamper an ongoing federal investigation and possible federal charges.

The proposed indictment accuses officers Gregg Junnier, Jason Smith, and Arthur Tesler of felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, burglary, making false statements, and violation of oath. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a defense attorney for one of the officers received an email from DA Howard Wednesday including the proposed indictment and saying prosecutors would take the matter to a grand jury on February 26.

The three officers sought and received a search warrant from a magistrate after Smith told him he and Tesler had a confidential informant buy crack at that house. But in the wake of the botched drug raid, which also left three officers wounded, it became evident that the officers had lied to the magistrate. There was no informant who had purchased crack at the house. After the raid, the officers attempted to get another informant to lie and say he had bought drugs there, but he instead told investigators about the request.

As community anger over the killing simmers, Howard has made efforts to let the Johnston family and the community know he was serious about doing justice in the case. "The death of Mrs. Johnston constitutes one of the greatest tragedies ever to occur in Fulton County," Howard wrote in a letter to the Johnston family spokesman Markel Hutchins. "I will not rest until every person responsible for her death is held accountable. When homicides occur in Fulton County, whether committed by a civilian or a law enforcement official, it is the obligation of the District Attorney's Office to take the appropriate legal actions."

While it would normally seem that indicting police officers whose lies led to the death of an elderly woman would be the appropriate legal action, by doing so Howard has broken with the ongoing federal investigation by the FBI. FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett told the Journal-Constitution, "We did not know this was taking place prior. The FBI has been charged with leading this investigation. And to date, this investigation has not been completed."

The Johnston family was also unhappy that Howard is moving to indict the officers. "The family of Kathryn Johnston is extremely unhappy and disappointed with today's turn of events," Hutchins said Wednesday. "Mr. Howard's move today of pressing charges would effectively limit the scope of and the potential charges of a federal investigation, and borders on tampering with a federal investigation."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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murder

its about time these rabid drug warriors pay for thier sins

Drug War Criminals

Drug Warriors, Narcs, DEA Agents, and other such SCUM are ALL War Criminals, and WILL be brought to Justice for their Crimes against Humanity and Individuals. Many of them WILL be EXECUTED for their Crimes. The remainder of them WILL ROT their miserable excuse for a life out in the same dank dark prison cell they would have put a Victimless Drug User.

More and More corruption

The only problems is that the DA is screwing the federal investigation. He is in a sense protecting the 3 officers from more serious federal charges. It is could that something is happening, it is just sad that Mr. Howard had to essentially intervene on a current FEDERAL INVESTIGATION SPEARHEADED BY THE FBI and act he is doing the Johnston family a favor. If this had happened to my grandmother, my public statement after learning about it would not be nearly as kind as the one the Johnstons made.

Only the tip of the iceberg on corrupt police and snitches

The previous post states that the Atlanta DA is, in a sense, protecting the three officers from more serious federal charges. Perhaps he is protecting his own department - CHA. I think it's safe to assume that anyone on this site is aware that this is not a unique incident. What made it "sexy" for the media was the fact that Kathryn Johnston was 92 years old.

The bottom line is that the police do not work alone. More than a few people have to become involved in the corruption that goes on.
The judges who sign questionable warrants as well as the DA's who take many of these cases to trial, or to a deal, knowing full well that something is rotten in Denmark.

These police officers and others like them would not do this unless they knew they could get away with it. That's why it happens primarily in poor neighborhoods where people can not get lawyers.

The Paul Howard also knows that the FBI is on the same mission as his deptartment - to convict by any means necessary. The FBI has the opportunity to look like the moral police this particular time. They should know what to look for since they employ a few of these practices themselves. Although, they're a little smarter and cover themselves on the front end.

Bottom line, the system needs an overhaul.

I was amazed at how far the police will go when researching cases for my novel, SnitchCraft, a about a nightclub owner set up by a dishonest snitch and an expose on how deep the corruption runs in the criminal justice system under the guise of the "War on Drugs."

Thanks DRCNet for what you do....

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