Patterico's Pontifications


Cops Who Shot Kathryn Johnston to Face Murder Charges

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:16 pm

Via Instapundit comes a link to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on the Kathryn Johnston case from Atlanta:

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard will seek criminal charges, including felony murder, against three Atlanta narcotics officers involved in a botched drug raid that resulted in the shooting death of an elderly woman, according to a proposed indictment.

I said on January 11:

If the probable cause for the warrant was manufactured, that is strong evidence that the woman was firing at the police because she believed that they were criminals breaking into her home. If the allegations of the anonymous source are true, then I urge prosecutors to go after the lying cops — hammer and tongs. If a murder prosecution is viable under applicable law — and the story quotes a former federal prosecutor suggesting that it might be — I think it should be pursued. We can’t tolerate behavior like this from law enforcement.

I’m not going to pretend to know all the facts of this case, but from what I’ve read, it looks really bad for the cops. I reiterate that if they lied to get into the house, and if that lie forms the basis of a valid murder prosecution, then I’m all for it.

39 Responses to “Cops Who Shot Kathryn Johnston to Face Murder Charges”

  1. Sure would be nice to have some sort of motive for this madness. I’d like to think that “Cops just like shooting innocent folks” doesn’t cut it outside of the intellectual cesspools of the internets.

    Still, I look forward to the nailing of these bastards to the wall IF we establish culpability.

    OHNOES (d573a4)

  2. Hope Radley Balko gives you some credit.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  3. Bradley, I really couldn’t care less. If he did, it would be wrapped inside a post about *right* he was and how *wrong* I was.

    I still have errors of his I never bothered to post about, because I’m sick of arguing with him. Suffice it to say, he bitterly criticized a judge who fairly characterized a case holding that he himself misrepresented — and that’s just one example.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  4. Patterico does the backstroke better than anyone I know.

    Why should they be charged with murder if they had vests on labeling them as police, as you triumphantly proclaimed in a prior post? Plus, I thought they shouted that they were police.

    Where’s the tough talk about this lady taking her lumps?

    Plus, why are you SPECULATING about how “bad it looks for the cops” when you admit that you don’t know all of the facts yet? What happened to waiting until we get ALL of the facts in?

    Hypocrisy, thy name is Patterico.

    Booboo (9e59ca)

  5. I *don’t* know all the facts, my gutless, anonymous friend. But the allegations that the cops lied look more credible all the time, making me less open to the suggestion that they did everything properly.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  6. “I reiterate my suggestion that we wait for all the facts to come in before we leap to conclusions about the behavior of the police or the woman.”

    Gee, who said that? You admit you don’t know all of the facts, yet you sure seem to be leaping to conclusions about the police’s behavior.

    So, have you now made your peace with Balko (correctly) speculating about how this case would play out? Or is it only OK for you to speculate before all of the facts are in?

    Booboo (9e59ca)

  7. I’m not seeing the conclusion Patterico made. It is all speculation at this point, and he was careful to phrase it as such.

    On a personal note, the fact that we’re shedding bad light on the source for the warrant is enough to make me hungry for blood.

    OHNOES (d573a4)

  8. Booboo (interesting name – is it Freudian?),

    Do you not see a difference between speculating that things look bad for the police (e.g., Patterico) and condemning the police out-of-hand (e.g., Balko)?

    DRJ (605076)

  9. If Booboo is correct with all of his insinuations, then I am a big jerk.

    But I don’t think I am a big jerk.

    How can that possibly be?

    Consider it a thought experiment, from your pal Yogi Bear.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  10. Who said these things? You only get one guess. Here’s a hint: it’s the same guy many of you want to get a pat on the back now.

    “Because of her actions in firing on officers, she’s now getting to find out whether that forgiveness is available.”

    “OK. If an old lady thinks opening fire on three guys who have announced themselves to be policemen is a good idea, she needs to be ready to take her own lumps.

    And she did. “

    Booboo (9e59ca)

  11. Yogi sez: what was I responding to, Booboo?

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  12. By the way (anticipating Patterico’s lame defense), even if the above comments were in response to someone else’s posts, it doesn’t mitigate the disgusting nature of them.

    I doubt very seriously Patterico would take kindly to such comments (regardless of the context) if something as tragic as what happened to this 92 year old woman were to happen to Patterico’s own mother or grandmother.

    Will he apologize for the tone of his remarks towards this woman, who by all appearances was murdered? I doubt it.

    Booboo (9e59ca)

  13. Hey there, Booboo! Put down your pic-a-nic basket and get your typing fingers ready to put the whole context out there for all the residents of Jellystone Park to see, why don’t you?

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  14. Jeez, some of you people are rich … and by “some of you people”, I mean you, Booboo.

    Guarantee #1: Nobody – *NOBODY* – is happy that an old woman died in a shootout with police. Not her family, not the police, not the community, not Patterico; I’d venture to say that not even you, Booboo, are happy about the outcome of the botched raid.

    But you do seem awfully eager to use this woman’s death to hang a charge of “hypocrisy” off of someone with whom you don’t agree.

    If you have a problem with something someone else has posted, please remember that they are going off the same facts everyone else is – and those facts are always incomplete – Always – then, now, and even after the trial ends.

    Were you posting arguments to counter those of Patterico the last time this was discussed or are you *just now* Monday Morning Quarterbacking? If it’s the former, be polite and repost and let’s discuss; if it’s the latter, well then, why should anyone listen to you effectively say “I told you so” when you didn’t?

    The key component in this seems to be the question of how “easy” should a free populace be to police? I and others maintain the answer should be “pretty damn hard”. Police *should* have an extraordinarily inordinate burden of proof when asking for what amounts to carte blanche search and seizure orders – and they should be granted by judges in very rare cases, and (in my opinion) *never* for non-violent – i.e. drug-related – reasons.


    Because innocent old women who can’t see that well and can’t hear that well sometimes think that the second amendment applies to them, and that the fourth amendment constrains the police.

    There’s a case to be made for the easement of policing regulations as well, but those arguments are not nearly as compelling to me as the principle that the state has a duty to leave its citizenry alone. And to presume that citizenry is law-abiding unless given *overwhelming* proof otherwise.

    They should take very seriously in GA the results of this “no knock” assault, and by all accounts, are. At no time have we heard of a Nifong-like conspiracy to defraud anyone of their rights. And don’t think we wouldn’t with the political makeup of that city.

    Guarantee #2: Regardless of the outcome of the impending legal proceedings, someone will be *very* unhappy. Whether it’s victim advocate groups or law and order groups and police organizations, this case has the potential to realign how domestic criminal raids are conducted throughout the country. It’s going to be a debate worth following closely.

    Now, Booboo, don’t you wish you would have joined the discussion and made thoughtful, substantive comments instead of shoveling snark at $3 a pound?

    Of course you do. You jackass.

    Abraxas (db3144)

  15. Booboo anticipated a lame defense I already offered three minutes earlier. Hey there, Booboo! You’re a genius, you are!

    So you want to provide the context, or will you predictably make me do it?

    If the cops had been innocent, then the assumptions made about them would have been disgusting if they had been YOUR VERY OWN COUSINS OR BABY BRUDDERS!

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  16. Booboo,

    You want Patterico to apologize for his tone?

    DRJ (605076)

  17. I wonder. If the police had acted in good faith and had a proper warrant, their actions, invading the home of, and killing, a 92-year old woman, would probably be a bigger blow to the iconic phony war-against-drugs industry than three “bad cops”.

    nk (4cd0c2)

  18. How, nk? It would mean that drug deal had taken place inside the home.

    Anyway, don’t you read Radley Balko? Almost all drug cops are “bad cops.” If you don’t agree, you’re a stupid naive statist authoritarian idiot.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  19. Let’s recap:

    Patterico insinuates a (likely) murdered woman will be going to hell for her actions.

    When confronted on his disgusting statements, his best defense is….”the other guys were doing it too!!!!!!”


    Booboo (9e59ca)

  20. “Anyway, don’t you read Radley Balko? Almost all drug cops are “bad cops.” If you don’t agree, you’re a stupid naive statist authoritarian idiot.”

    BTW, keep this quote in mind the next time Patterico gets all high and mighty about people on the internet deliberately mischaracterizing one another’s positions.

    Booboo (9e59ca)

  21. Patterico #18,

    It would be a direct assault against drug policies which send Border Patrol agents to prison for wounding a drug smuggler and direct police officers to kick down the door of a 92-year old woman’s house on “probable cause”. This way, it’s not the institution’s fault — it’s the individual’s fault. It is kind of Radley Balkoish but from the other side. Sensible enforcement.

    nk (4cd0c2)

  22. Shut up, Booboo. Nobody takes you seriously. You’re just wasting bandwidth.

    nk (4cd0c2)

  23. BTW, keep this quote in mind the next time Patterico gets all high and mighty about people on the internet deliberately mischaracterizing one another’s positions.

    Hey there, Booboo.

    Well, naturally he doesn’t put it quite that way. I’m ever so sorry you read my commenting as so suggesting. But he does say that drug cops routinely lie, does he not? Do you deny it? I suppose I can dig up the quotes if you want to say I’m wrong. Something like: if you think drug cops lying is an aberration, you’re not paying attention.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  24. Oh:

    Let’s recap:

    Booboo is full of crap.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  25. “stupid naive statist authoritarian idiot”

    There are three litmus tests for Libertarians. The unkindest: “Do you like a good pot party with hookers?”

    The moderate: They show no deference to the social contract or reverence for the majesty of the state.

    The best, from Edward Abbey’s “The Brave Cowboy”: I don’t need identification. I know who I am.”

    I like the last, but until Libertarians convince me that they have wiped every murderer, rapist and thief off the face of the earth I will be a “stupid naive statist authoritarian idiot”.

    nk (4cd0c2)

  26. Lest some of you think that I am “Monday morning quarterbacking” regarding Patterico’s comments towards this elderly woman, I invite you to go back to the original comment threads. Patterico was told prospectivley by others that his comments were out of line. While he was busy chasitising others for making assumptions and jumping to conclusions before all of the facts were out, he felt it apparently perfectly fine to speculate about this lady’s mortal soul. When called out both then and now, he refused and refuses to retract his statemements, much less apologize for them.

    That is the kind of guy Patterico is.

    Booboo (9e59ca)

  27. Oh, hey there, Booboo.

    Shorter Booboo:

    Lest some of you think that I am “Monday morning quarterbacking” regarding Patterico’s comments towards this elderly woman, I am.

    Let’s see now. I’ll bet you a yearlong pass to Jellystone Park that you were going around telling people that there was no point in waiting for the facts, because the investigation of this crime would be a whitewash. Meanwhile, I was saying to wait for the facts because I thought an investigation might lead somewhere. It currently appears that I was right, and people like “Booboo” and Balko were wrong on that point.

    Now, here is my entire comment, including the context that you, as a dishonest person, deliberately omitted. I made it in a context where news reports quoted the Atlanta PD as saying that the cops had served a valid warrant, after buying drugs from the home — a home that they said entered while wearing clothing and carrying gear saying “police,” yelling that they were police, and from which they later recovered suspected narcotics. In that context, a commenter said: “Still, this was a kick-ass old lady. God bless her. And as for the police killing her: I don’t know how to say it better — may God forgive them.” My comment began by quoting the commenter and responding in kind, explicitly based on all available information:

    Still, this was a kick-ass old lady. God bless her. And as for the police killing her: I don’t know how to say it better — may God forgive them.

    May God forgive this old lady for firing on 3 cops who were, from all available information, just doing their jobs.

    Because of her actions in firing on officers, she’s now getting to find out whether that forgiveness is available.

    Now that available information suggests she was truly innocent, of course I feel bad. Of course, available information could change — something that I am acknowledging now, but that you aren’t. Once the official line suits your ideology, you’re content to swallow it hook, line, and proverbial sinker.

    I’m not going to let assholes like you rewrite history, “Booboo.” (By the way, why are the biggest assholes so often the anonymous ones?)

    Oh, and by the way: “Booboo” is actually a guy who in the past has called himself “King Christian XI.” Now he’s using a different name because he was ridiculed for his idiot comments made under that name. That is the kind of guy Booboo/King Christian XI is.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  28. booboo, you’re a waste of bandwidth. sure, patterico is wrong sometimes, but he does a good job of acknowledging it when new facts come out. he shares his brand of irrationality “god’s forgiveness” with tens of millions of other christians in this country. if i confronted every christian on here every chance i got, it would be a nonstop religious war. why don’t you find a church to picket outside of next sunday, your community needs the laugh.

    assistant devil's advocate (87734f)

  29. 1) Ignore the anonymous troll.

    2) Question: If the cops perjured themselves to get a warrant, then wasn’t Johnston actually shooting at “criminals breaking into her home”?

    [Of course. Absolutely. — P]

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  30. Atlanta officers to face murder indictment
    Fulton DA seeks charges in shooting of elderly woman in her home

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 02/07/07

    Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard will seek criminal charges, including felony murder, against three Atlanta narcotics officers involved in a botched drug raid that resulted in the shooting death of an elderly woman, according to a proposed indictment.

    The proposed indictment drawn up by the prosecutor’s office names officers Gregg Junnier, Jason R. Smith and Arthur Tesler. Howard accuses them of felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, burglary, making false statements and violation of oath.


    My Observations from some points in the article;

    “Csehy conceded his client may have made mistakes, but he said Junnier didn’t commit murder. “There was no malfeasance here. It was sloppy police work,” Csehy said. “It was cutting corners.””
    Ok so we citizens are also free to take out errant, or not, cops at will maybe they are ugly or such. Gave us a ticket we did not like, we will not be committing a crime, just “Cutting Corners”!

    “Junnier later told federal investigators that officers had lied to a magistrate judge about sending a confidential informant to Johnston’s house to purchase drugs in order to get the warrant.

    And, if the warrant to enter Johnston’s home was based on deceit, all actions that occurred after police broke down the door could be considered criminal, legal experts said.”

    Farkin A! CRIMINAL!

    “Atlanta police Sgt. Scott Kreher, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, called reports that prosecutors would seek indictments against the officers “sad.””

    When do they think it’s sad to put a criminal in jail, behind bars, or better yet kill them in their own home?

    “”The family of Kathryn Johnston is extremely unhappy and disappointed with today’s turn of events. 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.””

    So the local DA is attempting to Nifong the feds as well?

    Can somebody say FLUSH this toilet as well?


    Radley, like all of us can get a tad incensed over the continued flow of these types of things, and most of what he says is with merit.



    “More on Isaac Singletary

    Police are now conceding that Singletary was completely innocent. The Jacksonville sheriff describes him in this article as an “honest citizen trying to do good.”

    Which means that two undercover officers trespassed onto Singletary’s property. They then invited criminals onto his property to engage in criminal activity with them. Mr. Singletary, recognizing the trespassers as drug dealers, then properly demanded they leave. He brought a gun along to defend himself, not an unreasonable action, given the circumstances. For this, he was shot to death.

    Florida Governor Charlie Crist visited Jacksonville yesterday , and when asked about Singletary’s death, referred to the “challenges” of keeping a community safe.

    No, governor. Singletary’s death isn’t a “challenge.” It’s the inevitable, predictable result of a stupid policy whereby politicians attempt to control people lives. With guns.”


    The so called War on Drugs really needs to be reevaluated, in the 30 yrs I’ve been aware of it the only real winners have been those selling them and the movie makers aggrandizing both sides of it.

    The stark reality remains, they have not put a dent in the availability of drugs on the street. The tax coffers could be overflowing if they were legal and controlled like smokes, booze and every other drug out there.

    TC (b48fdd)

  31. (hoping to end the strong underscore)

    There are a few more charges that could be added, but that’s a good start if they indeed lied.

    htom (412a17)

  32. […] Patterico is reporting that murder charges are being filed against the officers. The case will be taken to the grand jury. […]

    Sue Bob’s Diary » Update On Kathryn Johnston (1b383c)

  33. perhaps I am being naive (okay, take out the perhaps) but I would think that for a “no-knock” warrant the judge would require super strong supporting statements.

    seePea (38fcb2)

  34. No-knock warrants should be reserved for situations in which life and limb are at stake. Police officers who can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have falsified evidence and/or lied to obtain a warrant should automatically be sentenced to the maximum possible penalty their targets could have been/were sentenced to on conviction of the alleged crimes. If police shoot someone in a no-knock raid executed pursuant to a warrant obtained (by them or with their guilty knowledge) under false pretences, they should be executed. Prosecutors who can be proven beyond reasonable doubt to have lied, suborned perjury, or suppressed probably exculpatory evidence should automatically be sentenced to the maximum possible punishment that there actual/would-be victims could did/could have faced upon conviction. Prosecutorial immunity needs to be curtailed. While I realize a fairly strong degree of immunity is required, “absolute” immunity is required only by the absolutely corrupt or evil (Nifong). Just my opinion.

    TheManTheMyth (56001e)

  35. BooBoo—While I’ve occassionally been guilty of the same thing myself, its not cool to hijack the thread. My rule of thumb is that if you can’t convince everyone that your brilliant ideas/positions are right within three posts, you probably ought to move on to the next thread. Hey, come to think of it, I guess that gives me one more post!

    TheManTheMyth (56001e)

  36. TheManTheMyth , re:#34

    And what of a judge who does not do due deligience for a no-knock warrant?

    seePea (38fcb2)

  37. Negligent homocide.

    TheManTheMyth (56001e)

  38. If we’re going to give these people life and death powers over “civilians” then its also fair that we expect them to be accountable for the exercise of such awesome power. Oh crap, that’s four posts. 🙂

    TheManTheMyth (56001e)

  39. Since when do prosecutors take the word of a drug dealer over three police offficers with good reputations. The snitch lied obviously. Why can’t they see it? What is wrong with our country and the legal system? Border agents are convicted when a known drug dealer testified against them. Something is very wrong here.

    It is sad that the old lady died,but it is even sadder that she was living in a house that was pushing drugs. She was the one with a shotgun when they entered the house. How did she just happen to quickly retieve a shotgun as the police identified themselves as they went through the door.

    Lynda Black (ec2835)

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