One year ago this week Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed by Atlanta Police executing a no knock warrant. As we learned later, the raid on her house was based on lies and Officers Gary Smith and Gregg Junnier would plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges. A federal investigation uncovered many troubling things about how Atlanta’s war on drugs was being conducted. As Radley Balko writes today…
We now know that it was routine for Atlanta’s narcotics officers to lie on drug warrants. We know that judges in the city rather systematically approved those warrants with no scrutiny at all (the judge in the Johnston case literally rubber-stamped the warrant), abrogating their oaths as guardians of the Fourth Amendment.
Chief Pennington eventually replaced the entire narcotics division of the APD.
Atlanta is still in a state of self-examination since the Kathryn Johnston case. To its credit, the city is considering real reform in the way it conducts its drug policing. Politicians at the municipal, state and federal level may guide that process, as may a lawsuit from Ms. Johnston’s family.
Hopefully real reform will take place and things will not simply return to the way they used to be within the APD and Atlanta drug Courts.
Hat Tip: Instapundit.