Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

December 6, 2006

More Details in the Kathryn Johnston Case

by Brad Warbiany

Shooting warrant confirms pot, not crack, at house

Confirming what Atlanta police have consistently maintained, a small quantity of marijuana was found in Kathryn Johnston’s home, according to a Fulton County Magistrate Court document released Tuesday.

But the “return” document from the search warrant for the Neal Street home — the paperwork that lists items police took during the search — does not mention surveillance cameras or crack cocaine. Police cited both as reasons for seeking a “no-knock” warrant to raid the elderly woman’s northwest Atlanta home.

The inventory of items seized from 933 Neal St. include 1.93 grams of marijuana in three individually packaged bags, an envelope of marijuana rolling papers, and a piece of misdirected mail.

Yep. Kathryn Johnston was killed for drugs carrying a street value of under $20.

But it’s okay, because the informant is usually “reliable”:

Police had said that earlier that day, a man named “Sam” sold crack cocaine to an confidential informant at the house.

In a court affidavit, Atlanta narcotics officer Jason R. Smith said “Sam” greeted the informant, disappeared into the house and reappeared with two bags of crack cocaine.

Smith’s statement also said that the informant — a reliable source who helped police make drug arrests in the past— had alleged that “Sam” had installed surveillance cameras at the house and monitored them constantly.

“I believe cocaine is being sold and stored at [the house],” Smith said in the affidavit. He was granted a warrant allowing officers to enter the house without knocking.

Since then, the informant has said he never bought drugs at the home, and that officers involved in the bust had asked him to go along with a story they concocted after the shooting.

According to the story of the police, they took the story the informant supplied, got a warrant (without further investigation, apparently), and served the warrant that night. Doesn’t this just scream a big red flag of “NEGLIGENCE” all over?

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