Incarceration, Asset Forfeiture, Arrests, Informants, Police Raids, Search and Seizure

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Fatal Police Raid Began With Earlier Marijuana Arrest

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
WSB-TV (Atlanta)
URL: 
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/10488547/detail.html

Law Enforcement: Rev. Al Sharpton Calls for Congressional Hearings into Police Killings of Civilians

Standing at a rally in front of the home where Atlanta senior citizen Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed by police serving a "no-knock" drug warrant after she opened fire on the intruders, the Rev. Al Sharpton on Sunday called for congressional hearings into the police killing of civilians. The case of Johnston, who was killed November 21, along with that of Sean Bell, the New York City man gunned down by police on his wedding date a few days later, and the case of Patrick Strickland, the North Carolina man killed by police investigating the robbery of a Playstation3, have once again put the simmering issue of police violence on the front burner.

"Something stinks in this case. And something stinks to high heaven," Sharpton said. "In fact, it smells so bad, I smelled it in New York and came to Atlanta this morning." Sharpton condemned "this new sense of police recklessness, whether it is a 88-year-old mother here in Atlanta, with questionable circumstances that led to the warrant that gave them entry into her home, or whether it is over 50 bullets shot at three unarmed men in Queens," said the prominent black activist and former presidential candidate.

"There seems to be a new spirit in law enforcement that they can become the judge, jury and executioner of the law on the scene," Sharpton said. "Police apprehend suspects; they don't kill them. This cannot be tolerated in a civilized society."

While the Justice Department is conducting investigations of both the Johnston and Bell killings, Sharpton said they were only the latest in a pattern of killings and individualized inquiries were not enough. "The pattern is not under investigation," Sharpton said. "They are investigating whether there was criminal activity. The pattern of policing, which should be set by the US Congress in a federal standard, is not going to come out of either one of those investigations."

Sharpton said he had been talking with US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the incoming head of the House Judiciary Committee about holding hearings on what he called a national pattern of police shootings. He isn't the first to ask Conyers to act on the issue. Outgoing US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) sent Conyers a letter last week asking him to hold hearings.

According to the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, police kill between 300 and 400 people each year. After peaking at nearly 450 police killings of civilians in 1994, the number declined to just over 300 in 2000 before climbing again to about 370 last year. Only a tiny fraction of police killings are found by police to be questionable; most are found to be "justifiable homicides." In only a tiny fraction of cases are officers indicted in a killing, and then, only a tiny fraction are convicted.

No New Prisons Campaign

Please join us in a preliminary meeting to begin planning to stop prison expansion in Washington State No New Prisons Campaign Monday, December 11, 2006 6:30pm-8:30pm 2111 E. Union St, Seattle, WA 98122 Light snacks, desserts and refreshments will be provided We will be building on alternatives to incarceration. Hear from others who are interested in preventing prison expansion. Do a power analysis to help us understand our challenge by: Identifying key players, policy makers, decision makers and systems on both sides of the prison expansion agenda. Continue the struggle for justice. No New Prisons Agenda (WA State Level): Introductions Meeting goals Good understanding of factors influencing prison expansion Preliminary campaign plan based on above understanding Preliminary team outreach Brief overview of research / statistics on WA State prison system Current prison system stats Prison expansion project currently in progress Future planned prison expansion Do power analysis as INPUT to campaign planning What is our agenda? What is their agenda? Define major economic, political and/or social conditions that impact Identify / assess decision makers over prison expansion Identify / assess major organized opposition Identify / assess organized groups and allies in support Identify / assess groups of people or communities most affected Develop a preliminary campaign plan to stop prison expansion What actions support decision makers who are allies? What actions block decision makers who are foes? What can be done to counter work of organized opposition? What can be done to support the work of allies? What can be done to assure that those most affected are involved? What types of public education are needed? What areas of the state need the most attention? What materials are needed to support our agenda? (I.E.: research, position papers, poster, flyers, media work, banners, etc.) Who is interested in participating in this campaign? Who else could we invite? Set date for next meeting for follow up and results (once a month) Comments Adjourn
Date: 
Mon, 12/11/2006 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: 
2111 E. Union Street
Seattle, WA 98122
United States

Misguided Drug War Claims Another Victim

Location: 
Atlanta, GA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
URL: 
http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/tucker/stories/2006/12/02/1203edtuck.html

Town Hall Meeting on Atlanta Police Department Shooting

Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington, District Attorney Paul Howard, and Mayor Shirley Franklin are all expected to attend a town hall meeting called by the Atlanta branch of the NAACP. The meeting is aimed at addressing community concerns about the police shooting death of Kathryn Johnston inside her home.
Date: 
Mon, 12/04/2006 - 6:30pm - 10:00pm
Location: 
1202 West Marietta Street, NW
Atlanta, GA
United States

Town Hall Meeting on APD Shooting

Location: 
Atlanta, GA
United States
Publication/Source: 
WXIA-TV Atlanta
URL: 
http://www.11alive.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=88393

Drug Raids: Cops Looking Worse and Worse as Facts Emerge in Deadly Atlanta Case

The shooting death of 88-year-old Atlanta resident Kathryn Johnston at the hands of undercover Atlanta police after she fired at them as they burst through her front door continues to cause outrage in the community. And as the days go by, more and more questions are being raised about police behavior that night.

Police originally said they had bought drugs at Johnston's address. Police originally said they knocked and announced their presence before entering. But the search warrant that led to the raid, which Fulton County officials originally refused to release, is clearly marked as a "no-knock" warrant. The affidavit that led to the warrant describes not the police but a confidential informant making the alleged drug buy.

It gets worse -- The confidential informant said this week he never bought drugs at the house and that the police asked him to lie about it after the fact. This has provoked a counterattack by unknowns unhappy with the "reliable" informant, who have leaked his identity to the press and described him as a "drug dealer" as a prelude to discrediting him. [Ed: Somehow that doesn't seem to discredit such people sufficiently to throw out their testimony in mandatory minimum cases.]

Police Chief Richard Pennington now says the department will review its "no-knock" policy. In a preemptive move, Pennington also announced that the killing of Kathryn Johnston will be the subject of a federal investigation. But even those moves haven't taken the heat off of the Atlanta police, with Pennington manfully enduring raucous public meetings where member after member of the community have excoriated him and his department over Johnston's death and trigger-happy police practices.

More community meetings are coming, and multiple investigations are ongoing. Perhaps the killing of Kathryn Johnston will end up serving some purpose if her death helps to rein in law enforcers who treat citizens as if they were enemy combatants.

Visit The Agitator blog for ongoing updates on this case and other bad drug raids.

Prison Arts and Crafts Show

*** Prison made jewelry, clothing, leathercrafts and more at our special prison craft shows *** Join us at First Trinity Lutheran Church for our holiday Prison Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday, December 16, from 10 AM to 5 PM. You'll find the perfect holiday gift at prices you can afford, from jewelry, craft items, and art -- all created by prison inmates across America. Also enjoy live music by MudPie jazz trio and other musicians. Don't miss this free events sponsored by the Prison Art Gallery. Mastercard, Visa, Amex and Discover welcome. First Trinity Lutheran Church, 309 E Street NW, Washington DC (half block from the Judiciary Square metro). Call 202-393-1511 Our new Prison Art Gallery is packed with original art and prints for your holiday shopping needs. For the holidays, we're open every day. Monday to Friday, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday 12:30 to 5:30 PM. Prison Art Gallery, 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, Washington DC (one block from two metro stations, McPherson on Orange line and Farragut North on Red line) Volunteer opportunities - Want a preview of the arts and crafts to be featured in at the First Trinity Lutheran Church and Prison Art Gallery? Come to our volunteer sessions this week on Wednesday and Thursday, 1 to 8 PM. We'll be preparing new arts and crafts for the sales. Have fun helping out, labeling artists, affixing biographical information and more. Even if you can only drop by for a little while, we guarantee a fun and interesting time. This is happening at First Trinity Lutheran Church, 309 E Street NW, Washington, DC (half block from Judiciary Square Metro). Please call 202-393 -1511 for further information. Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 to 5:30 PM, the Prison Art Gallery, 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, will have a special sale with many items at reduced prices, including our popular prison art t- shirts, CDs, holiday cards, and framed art prints. Whether you're looking for oil landscapes, pen and ink drawings of prison life, or acrlyic portraits, you'll find them at the Prison Art Gallery. The mission of the Prisons Foundation is to promote the arts and education in prison and alternatives to incarceration. Our Prison Art Gallery showcases the talent of men and women in prison while raising funds for these artists and for justice advocacy groups, includling victim assistance and prison reform organizations. Located three blocks from the White House, the Prisons Gallery of Art is served by two Metro stations (Farragut North on the Red Line, and Farragut West on the Orange and Blue Lines). Note that the entrance is on 16th Street, at the corner of K Street. Open Mon to Fri, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 to 5:30 PM (also open evenings and Sunday by appointment - groups welcome - admission is always free).
Date: 
Sat, 12/16/2006 - 10:00am - 5:00pm
Location: 
United States

Seven Million -- and Counting

The Bureau of Justice Statistics annual report on use of the criminal justice system has come out, and there is landmark grim news: There are now seven million people under criminal justice control -- in prison or jail, on probation, or or parole -- in the United States. I am having trouble finding a link to the report -- maybe it's not posted yet -- but Phil will be covering this in Drug War Chronicle tonight. So check back for more details on the bad news...
Location: 
United States

Search and Seizure: US Supreme Court Lets State Rulings Barring Drug Dog House Searches and Restricting Traffic Stop Drug Searches Stand

The US Supreme Court Monday refused to hear two appeals from states where the courts have moved to impose restrictions on drug-related searches. While the court's decision not to hear the cases signals no change in federal law, it does mean that residents of the states in question will be protected from the practices at issue.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/drugdog.jpg
drug dog
In the first case, Florida v. Rabb, police received a tip that James Rabb was growing marijuana in his home. They pulled him over for a traffic violation and found him in possession of a small amount of marijuana and some books about growing pot, then went to his home and had a drug dog sniff the exterior. The dog alerted, and the police used that alert as the basis for a search warrant. A subsequent search found a grow operation, and Rabb was charged on that basis.

A Florida appeals court threw out Rabb's conviction, arguing that the drug dog sniff of a home amounted to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. Last year, the state of Florida appealed to the US Supreme Court, and the high court ordered the appeals court to reconsider its decision in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2005 drug dog search ruling in Illinois v. Caballes, where the court approved the constitutionality of drug dog sniffs during traffic stops. But the Florida appeals court instead cited another US Supreme Court case, Kyllo v. US, where the court held that the use of infrared sensors to detect heat emissions from a grow lamp was an impermissible violation of the Fourth Amendment.

By refusing to hear Florida's appeal in the Rabb case, the court signaled it was not prepared to extend its Caballes reasoning to home searches. On the other hand, the high court last year also refused to hear the case of David Gregory Smith, in which the Utah Supreme Court upheld his conviction after a search triggered by a drug dog sniff at his front door.

In the second case, Illinois v. Sloup, John Sloup was arrested for possession of a crack pipe during a traffic stop. Sloup appealed his conviction on the grounds that the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion an offense had been committed before asking Sloup's permission to search his vehicle. An Illinois appeals court agreed with Sloup, and overturned his conviction. By refusing to take the state's appeal, the US Supreme Court let the decision stand.

The two cases are binding only in the states where they were tried, but could provide grist for the mill in other states as well when courts there hear similar cases. In the meantime at least, Florida residents are safe from warrantless drug dog sniffs of their homes (but Utah residents are not) and Illinois residents have slightly more protection from unwarranted searches during traffic stops.

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