The 2006 killing of Kathryn Johnston gave the American public a window into the rampant incompetence and needless violence that so often characterizes modern drug enforcement. A massive settlement announced today will hopefully serve as a vivid reminder to police that dirty tactics can carry a heavy price.
Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- The city of Atlanta will pay $4.9 million to the family of Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed in a botched November 2006 drug raid, Mayor Kasim Reed's office announced Monday.
Johnston was shot to death by narcotics officers conducting a "no-knock" warrant. Investigators later determined the raid was based on falsified paperwork stating that illegal drugs were present in the home.
In the four years since Johnston's death, we've seen equally dramatic national controversies emerge from Berwyn Heights, MD and Columbia, MO, as well as countless other disturbing events that for whatever reason failed to generate national outrage. I can only imagine that the next great drug raid fiasco is just around the corner. Until the drug war is brought to an end, the loss of innocent lives will continue and the cost of cleaning up the mess will fall on every one of us.