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

“Comrades, I beg of you, do not resort to compulsory taxation. There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”     Robert A. Heinlein,    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

September 3, 2009

Georgia Pastor Is Latest Victim Of War On (Some) Drugs

by Doug Mataconis

A Georgia Pastor was mistakenly killed in the a police drug string operation:

STEPHENS COUNTY, Ga. — A pastor was shot and killed following a drug sting in Stephens County, Ga., on Tuesday, and the officers involved and friends of the pastor are giving different versions of what led up to the shooting.

The Stephens County coroner confirmed that 28-year-old Jonathan Ayers was pronounced dead at Stephens County Hospital on Tuesday.

Ayers, a father-to-be, was the pastor of the Shoal Creek Baptist Church. He maintained a personal blog linked off the church’s Web page, jonathanayers.blogspot.com.

Sheriff Randy Shirley said that officers had been involved in an undercover drug sting at an unnamed establishment in Toccoa. He said the target of the sting was a passenger in Ayers’ car. Shirley said Ayers dropped the woman off and went to the Shell station. He said the officers followed Ayers there.

hirley said, outside the Shell station, the plain-clothes officers identified themselves with a badge. The officers said that Ayers put his car in reverse and struck and agent. They said they opened fire on Ayers when he drove toward the second officer. Two shots were fired in the car, one hit Ayers. The officers said Ayers sped away and crashed about a half mile from the Shell station. They said they found him conscious and alert, but he died a short time later.

The woman who was the subject of the drug sting was arrested, but police are not identifying her yet. She is charged with selling cocaine. Other charges against her are pending.

Investigators said they did not find drugs in Ayers’ car.

“They deserve punishment,” said Ayers’ sister, Rebecca Floyd. “They deserve to feel somewhat of the pain we’re feeling, because I can’t get my brother back he’s gone forever.”

And, no doubt, the officers won’t receive any punishment at all.

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7 Comments

  1. [...] Pastor Is Latest Victim Of War On (Some) Drugs. by Doug Mataconis More: The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Colony Pastor Is Latest Victim … Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: a-police-drug, from-reaching, military-intervention-, [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Georgia Pastor Is Latest Victim … | Georgia realestate live today — September 3, 2009 @ 6:49 am
  2. Ayers put his car in reverse and struck an agent. They opened fire on Ayers when he drove toward the second officer.

    PUNISHED FOR WHAT, EXACTLY?

    Comment by DOUG MASTERS — September 3, 2009 @ 10:22 am
  3. Once again, I will share with you this public service video on how to avoid being shot, beaten, etc., by law enforcement officers. It is very helpful in reminding us all on the real value of common sense.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj0mtxXEGE8

    Not to generalize or anything, since each situation is unique, and perhaps in this particular instance, the reverand was rightfully exercising those Liberties we all cherish, in attempting to run over the law enforcement individuals with his car and then make a getaway that could make one nostalgic for the halcyon days of Bonnie and Clyde…..but as this video points out, in GENERAL it is typically and often even advisable to simply calmly exit your vehicle, when told to do so a police officer approaching you with a badge.

    Even if your lady friend is possibly involved in the sales and distribution side of the recreational pharmaceutical business, and so therefore you would, ideally, prefer not interacting with law enforcement right this very minute.

    Comment by southernjames — September 3, 2009 @ 11:43 am
  4. For just one second, before we all jump to conclusions here, take a look at the surveillance video.

    First thought:

    1. The video is inconclusive of any definitive conclusion. HOWEVER,
    2. This all occurred very quickly. It doesn’t appear there was time for an officer to calmly walk up to the window and tap on the glass before brandishing his weapon.
    3. The [plainclothes] officers were driving an [unmarked] Escalade. I hate to say it, but if I see someone jump out of an Escalade brandishing a weapon, my first thought is NOT that this is a police officer. Maybe a Merc Grand Marquis, but not an Escalade.

    This is clearly a tragedy. I’m sure Ayers was scared and thought he was being robbed (supposedly he had just stopped at the ATM). I’m sure the cops will claim they did EVERYTHING in their power to alert Ayers to the fact that they were cops and not robbers. And yet he’s still dead.

    The culprit here, though, is the War on Drugs. When you criminalize a consensual victimless act, one that must rely on possession of a substance (and snitches rather than ‘victims’) to be proven, you end up with a situation where things like dynamic entry, undercover operations and “surprise” are the only way to catch the lawbreakers. Add a human element and human emotions, adrenaline, and fears, and you’ll end up with innocent people needlessly killed.

    This didn’t have to happen, EVEN IF AYERS WAS A RECREATIONAL DRUG USER OR SMALL-TIME DEALER (which I don’t think there’s evidence at this point to make that case). The country is not safer today, but a Georgia pastor is dead leaving his unborn child fatherless. Would Ayers have been alive today if he’d assumed those men were cops instead of assuming they were thieves? Probably. But Ayers would also be alive today if we didn’t treat the War on Drugs as a reason to outfit our police forces like paramilitary enforcers and rely on the element of surprise to carry out their mission.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — September 3, 2009 @ 12:09 pm
  5. What are you people complete idots!!!!!!! The only witness that has been interviewed said “they looked like a bunch of hoodlums”. It is plain to see the cop was pulling his gun as he was getting out of the car. These are murderous lying hoodlums hiding behind a badge. What do you think you would do if you just got a pocket full of money from an ATM and a bunch of men looking like hoodlums and acting like hoodlums started yelling and screaming and brandishing weapons?? If you have half a brain after you see the video you have no doubt that these so called cops are nothing more than murderous hoodlums on a power trip hiding behind lies and a badge!

    Comment by Billy — September 3, 2009 @ 6:11 pm
  6. James:

    That was my first reaction to when I skimmed the story before reading it again later. But there is one detail you seem to be glossing over: these were police officers who were not in uniform coming out of unmarked vehicles. Do you mean to tell me that you would have calmly surrendered to just anyone who flashes a badge and claims they are the police? If so, you sir are a damn fool.

    Believe it or not, there are criminals out there who commit crimes by posing as police officers (such as was the subject of one of my posts awhile back). Unfortunately, whenever it becomes acceptable for police to act like thugs (as I have documented here on numerous occasions) it becomes harder to tell the difference which kind of thug you might be dealing with.

    This incident was completely avoidable and continuing to excuse this behavior is unacceptable.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 3, 2009 @ 8:27 pm
  7. Stephen,

    I withdraw my prior post. After having seen the security tape video. This one was indeed, different that what I am used to seeing here. The guy did appear justified in thinking he was being robbed by gangland thugs, and when he tried to escape the cops had no business firing at him.

    I’ll admit I was suckered, by the past history of what gets posted on this site regarding this general topic – into thinking this was yet again one of those examples of:

    Oh woe is us – we’ve lost all our liberties and live in a Police State, because another jack-booted gestapo kicked/tased/shot some poor kid after a high speed chase which endangered a dozen other innocent lives; and when oh when dear Lord will the cops ALWAYS follow proper police procedures 10,000 out of 10,000 stops/arrests instead of only following them 9,999 out of 10,000 stops/arrests.

    I promise to watch the video first from now on before making a decision on whether to post the Chris Rock video – and will do so, the next time there is a “OMG, look what those cops have done NOW!” posting.

    But on this particular one, I’m right with you. I would have ended up dead too, just like that guy.

    And yes – I agree that the war on drugs has been a complete failure. Partially because prohibition doesn’t work if enough people want something; and partially because of the manner in which the “war” has been conducted.

    Comment by southernjames — September 4, 2009 @ 3:49 am

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