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11-29-06, 08:13 AM #1
FBI called in to investigate Atlanta PD's shooting of eldery woman during a raid
Officials say the FBI will lead an investigation into the fatal shooting of an elderly Atlanta woman during a drug raid last week.
The announcement was made by Police Chief Richard Pennington at a news conference Monday afternoon, where he was joined by officials from the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office, the GBI and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.
A search warrant released by State Court in Fulton County says Atlanta police were looking for cocaine when they forced open the door of Kathryn Johnston Tuesday night, resulting in a shootout in which three officers were wounded. The warrant says the information came from an informant.
The informant told officers that the home had surveillance cameras that the suspected drug dealer, called “Sam,” monitored carefully.
Police have said “Sam” had sold drugs from inside Johnston’s home to an informant, prompting the officers to seek a “no-knock” warrant. Such warrants are frequently used by police to get inside a home before suspects have a chance to get rid of drugs.
But a local television station aired an interview on Monday evening with a man who said he was the informant, and he said he never told officers that he bought drugs at Johnston's house.
Pennington said at a news conference on Sunday that the department will review its policy on “no-knock” warrants and its use of confidential informants.
11-29-06, 08:24 AM #2
The informant who Atlanta police say led them to the house where an elderly woman was killed in a drug raid is accusing the officers involved in the bust of asking him to lie about the confrontation, police Chief Richard Pennington said Monday.
The informant, who has not been identified, complained to department officials that the drug investigators involved in the bust had asked him to go along with the story they concocted after the shooting, Pennington said. The informant has been placed in protective custody, he said.
Nearly a week after the drug raid in northwest Atlanta, Pennington said he had asked for an unusual multi-agency review of the shooting and what preceded it. After being away from Atlanta in the initial days after the shooting, Pennington appeared at a news conference Monday evening that featured top officials from the U.S. attorney's office, the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County district attorney's office.
David Nahmias, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, said federal agents "come to this investigation with an open mind," but he cautioned that anyone who lies could face federal charges.
"No one should get in the way of the truth," Nahmias said.
Kathryn Johnston was shot to death last Tuesday as the drug investigators burst into her house at 933 Neal St. Johnston was shot twice in the chest by the officers, who have said that they were returning her fire.
The 88-year-old woman wounded three of the officers with a rusty revolver her niece said she bought her aunt for her protection. One officer was hit three times, including one time in the center of his bulletproof vest, and the other two were shot once each. The officers were discharged from Grady Memorial Hospital a few hours after the shooting.
Police officials have said the narcotics officers went to Johnston's house after the informant purchased drugs there from a man identified only as "Sam." Police have obtained an arrest warrant for Sam.
In a court affidavit, Jason R. Smith, an Atlanta narcotics officer, said that the informant bought $50 worth of crack cocaine from Sam a few hours earlier at the Neal Street house. Smith described the informant as a reliable source of information who has helped police make drug arrests in the past.
In the affidavit, Smith said the informant spoke briefly to Sam on the front porch of the house and then the suspect entered. The informant returned to Smith and other officers with two bags of crack, according to the affidavit.
The informant also told police that Sam had installed surveillance cameras at the house and was monitoring them constantly, according to Smith's statement.
Smith's affidavit was sufficient to persuade Fulton County Magistrate Kimberly Warden to sign a warrant that allowed the officers to enter the house without knocking on the door.
Smith asked for the special authorization because of the possibility that officers would be injured or evidence would be destroyed.
However, the informant denied to police and a local television station that he purchased the drugs.
The informant, who said he worked with Atlanta police four years, told WAGA-TV that he hadn't been at 933 Neal St. His identity hidden, the informant told the TV station that one of the drug officers called him soon after the shooting with instructions.
Quoting the police officers, the informant, told Fox 5 News: "'This is what you need to do. You need to cover [us]
? It's all on you man. ? You need to tell them about this Sam dude.'"
"I don't know if he went in or not," Pennington said of the informant.
All seven Atlanta drug investigators involved in the raid have been suspended with pay, Pennington said.
"The complete truth will be known," Pennington promised.
Many questions and conflicting and changing accounts have surfaced since police shot the woman, described by neighbors as feeble and afraid to open her door after dark. "There are many unanswered questions," Pennington said at the Monday news conference.
Mayor Shirley Franklin said she had discussed the allegations with Pennington and the chief has "my confidence that they will be transparent and honest and very thorough in their review. ? I certainly share the concern that all of us have on
the loss of life. We were not expecting something like that could happen in the city of Atlanta."
11-29-06, 08:29 AM #3
Lets see now: Atlanta POD are starting to let the officers hand out to dry on their own. The FBI, after several news conferences and PR stunts will be indecisive in their results and turn it over to the Dept of Justice who will surly indict for "civil rights abuses." What about the officers? Screw them,they are just a tool to be used by the politicans.
My little tiraid for the day.
11-29-06, 04:12 PM #4
I agree it's starting to look like a white wash. But the sad thing is I think the officer's stand a better chance with another agency investigating it rather bringing in APD's infernal repairs.The virtue of spirit has no need for thanks or approval. Only the certain conviction that what has been done is right. -Jor El, as played by Marlon Brando
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