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View Full Version : Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police


Linda7NJ
11-22-2006, 03:51 PM
ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The niece of a 92-year-old woman shot to death by police said her aunt likely had reason to shoot three narcotics investigators as they stormed her house.

Police insisted the officers did everything right before entering the home Tuesday evening, despite suggestions from the woman's neighbors and relatives that it was a case of mistaken identity.

The woman, Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years, Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said.

The officers had a legal warrant, "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door and were justified in shooting once fired upon, he said.

Sarah Dozier, the niece, told WAGA-TV that there were never drugs at the house. (Watch niece's fury at police shooting (javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/us/2006/11/22/phillips.ga.92.year.old.suspect.killed.wsb','2006/11/29');) http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/.element/img/1.5/main/icon_video.gif (javascript:cnnVideo('play','javascript:cnnVideo(' play','/video/us/2006/11/22/phillips.ga.92.year.old.suspect.killed.wsb','2006/11/29');','2006/11/22');))

"My aunt was in good health. I'm sure she panicked when they kicked that door down," Dozier said. "There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog."

more at link: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/22/woman.shot.ap/index.html

CyberLaw
11-22-2006, 04:15 PM
There is something odd about the story the relaltive put forth.

I mean you need probable cause to get a warrant.....it is not just rubberstamped..........

Beyond Belief
11-22-2006, 07:20 PM
What a very emotional situation. I think everyone involved in this is innocent. Had that been a home invasion we would be saying "good Job' to this lady. But now she's gone and the officers have this on their conscience, but what else could they do. I must commend her on being a very good shot.

bakerprune64
11-22-2006, 09:36 PM
ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The niece of a 92-year-old woman shot to death by police said her aunt likely had reason to shoot three narcotics investigators as they stormed her house.

Police insisted the officers did everything right before entering the home Tuesday evening, despite suggestions from the woman's neighbors and relatives that it was a case of mistaken identity.

The woman, Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years, Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said.

The officers had a legal warrant, "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door and were justified in shooting once fired upon, he said.

Sarah Dozier, the niece, told WAGA-TV that there were never drugs at the house. (Watch niece's fury at police shooting (http://javascript<b></b>:cnnVideo('play','/video/us/2006/11/22/phillips.ga.92.year.old.suspect.killed.wsb','2006/11/29');) http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/.element/img/1.5/main/icon_video.gif (http://javascript<b></b>:cnnVideo('play','javascript<b></b>:cnnVideo('play','/video/us/2006/11/22/phillips.ga.92.year.old.suspect.killed.wsb','2006/11/29');','2006/11/22');))

"My aunt was in good health. I'm sure she panicked when they kicked that door down," Dozier said. "There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog."

more at link: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/22/woman.shot.ap/index.html
I read that her family and their pastor and a civil rights leaders were meeting. WTF!! does the family need the civil rights leader for? The police had a bonified warrant signed by the courts for god's sake.

Tom'sGirl
11-22-2006, 09:47 PM
I saw this on T.V. this morning, somehthing sounded 'hinky' to me.

One thing though, I'm a good shot, but don't know if I'll be one at 92, if I live that long ;)

Animal04216
11-22-2006, 11:06 PM
I read that her family and their pastor and a civil rights leaders were meeting. WTF!! does the family need the civil rights leader for? The police had a bonified warrant signed by the courts for god's sake.

They have the NAACP involved now. Pulling the "race card" of course. I am so sick of this in the Atlanta area! Sick of hearing the race issue from both sides. These officers had a warrant because they bought drugs from a man in that house earlier. It will be interesting to see if it is a relative of hers, as the neighbors claim the only people she allowed in her house were her nieces and nephews.

FACE-IT
11-23-2006, 12:06 AM
They have the NAACP involved now. Pulling the "race card" of course. I am so sick of this in the Atlanta area! Sick of hearing the race issue from both sides. These officers had a warrant because they bought drugs from a man in that house earlier. It will be interesting to see if it is a relative of hers, as the neighbors claim the only people she allowed in her house were her nieces and nephews.How many 92 year old women pack hardware?? From the article I read I thought it said that the woman opened fire as they "approached" the house; at least that is what I think I read.

Something's rotten in Denmark.

Karole28
11-23-2006, 09:09 AM
WTF!! does the family need the civil rights leader for?

Doesn't every family have one of these on call?

CyberLaw
11-23-2006, 11:10 AM
The Police report that they were shot upon as they approached the house, the "niece" reports they were shot upon "as they knocked" down the door.

Hummmmm......let me who I believe, the Police.

What were the cops surposed to do, allow this women to fire upon them and not return fire. I don't think so.

If you fire upon someone and they are armed, it would be well advised to fire back. Not that I have ever done either.......or have ever been in possession of a gun, nor would I ever have a gun.

Jacobi
11-23-2006, 11:16 AM
The Police report that they were shot upon as they approached the house, the "niece" reports they were shot upon "as they knocked" down the door.

Hummmmm......let me who I believe, the Police.

What were the cops surposed to do, allow this women to fire upon them and not return fire. I don't think so.

If you fire upon someone and they are armed, it would be well advised to fire back. Not that I have ever done either.......or have ever been in possession of a gun, nor would I ever have a gun.

Here is a quote from Police Chief Dreher:
"As a result of that narcotics purchase, members of the narcotics team obtained a search warrant for that same address. As they were executing the search warrant, they announced themselves before they forced open the door. Once the door was forced, the female inside began shooting at the police officers. The officers returned fire," said Chief Dreher.

I don't think the problem is that they fired back, but rather the use of a no-knock warrant for a situation that probably didn't require one. If they were able to do an undercover drugs buy, then it would have been equally easy to execute a search without barging in the door.

Animal04216
11-23-2006, 12:09 PM
Here is a quote from Police Chief Dreher:
"As a result of that narcotics purchase, members of the narcotics team obtained a search warrant for that same address. As they were executing the search warrant, they announced themselves before they forced open the door. Once the door was forced, the female inside began shooting at the police officers. The officers returned fire," said Chief Dreher.

I don't think the problem is that they fired back, but rather the use of a no-knock warrant for a situation that probably didn't require one. If they were able to do an undercover drugs buy, then it would have been equally easy to execute a search without barging in the door.


I think the bold says it all. She was WRONG!

kgeaux
11-23-2006, 12:16 PM
My grandmother is 99, a little older than this woman. She is hard of hearing. She is stone deaf when her hearing aids are out, and she sleeps without them.

If this old woman was hard of hearing, she may not have heard the announcement. And I guarantee you, if someone kicked my door down in the middle of the night, I'd shoot first and ask questions later. Her niece states that the gun was given to her aunt specifically for the purpose of protecting herself. And no matter what the police are saying now, here is an original quote:

Assistant Police Chief Alan Dreher called the killing "tragic and unfortunate" but said the officers were justified in returning fire.

"You don't know who's in the house until you open that door," Dreher said Wednesday. "And once they forced open the door, they were immediately fired upon."

She clearly did not fire upon the officers as they approached the house. The article states she lived in the "roughest" neighborhood around........she probably was primed to think the fact that her door was kicked down meant she was being robbed, or worse. CyberLaw, you can see from the quote from the Assistant Police Chief that the niece is not alone in stating that her aunt didn't fire upon the officers until the door went down.

And for those of you questioning the presence of the NAACP and civil rights leaders, I'll share with you something I recently learned. These groups don't wait to be INVITED to come into a situation. They show up and offer help, often their help is more harmful than helpful, but there they are offering help when others around you are not. It is pure publicity for the NAACP and nothing more motivates them, IMO. We've recently had an incident nearby to my town where the NAACP showed up and attempted to exacerbate a situation between some poor black residents and the sheriff's department. They really stirred things up, and the residents were BEGGING them not to make the sorts of threats they were making, not to come to New Iberia any more and to leave the situation alone. So the fact they've shown up in this situation is not necessarily a mark against the family.......

Animal04216
11-23-2006, 12:59 PM
Just for the record--she fired 5 shots hitting 3 officers. One officer was hit three times the others once. Their shirts clearly and boldy state POLICE on the front and back. I could understand ONE shot not 5. The niece is claiming that she didnt fire until they knocked the door down--how does she know any of this? She does not live there so she wouldnt.

eta: I never claimed she fired prior to them knocking on the door, I said they announced themselves, knocked down the door then she fired. This does give one pause to think though--who in their right mind would give a 92 year old woman a gun? "We wont let ya drive Granny, but hey heres a gun to protect yourself" doesnt make sense to me at all.

Jacobi
11-27-2006, 09:54 PM
Apparently an informant who was named in the search warrant has denied that he has bought drugs at the home. This conflicts with the story that undercover cops had earlier made a buy at that address. It's looking increasingly likely that the family was right all along and that the police simply got the address wrong.

The feds have now been called in to investigate.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/27/atlanta.shooting/index.html

crypto6
11-27-2006, 11:45 PM
Just for the record--she fired 5 shots hitting 3 officers. One officer was hit three times the others once. Their shirts clearly and boldy state POLICE on the front and back. I could understand ONE shot not 5. The niece is claiming that she didnt fire until they knocked the door down--how does she know any of this? She does not live there so she wouldnt.

eta: I never claimed she fired prior to them knocking on the door, I said they announced themselves, knocked down the door then she fired. This does give one pause to think though--who in their right mind would give a 92 year old woman a gun? "We wont let ya drive Granny, but hey heres a gun to protect yourself" doesnt make sense to me at all.


Sorry, Animal; usually I agree with your opines, but this is plain wrong. The lady had a gun to defend herself, and that's what she did, and quite well. It is incumbent on the police to know the full situation before they crash into someones home at gunpoint; little facts such as the owner is old, alone, and likely can't hear or see well. The informant said the cops were wrong, the neighbors said the cops were wrong, and a dead 88 year old says the same. Blaming the victim and those who sought to give her a measure of security is what stinks here. The woman was 88 years old and alone; there is no way conceivable to justify what was done to her. Even if drugs were dealt out of her house, do you think she knew and could be complicit, or could have stopped it if she wished?? Don't you think she'd live in a nice neighborhood where this wouldn't have happened if she could? Don't you think she would hear and see better if she could??
I've cared for such elderly people in rough parts of Atlanta, and they are victimized already; now they have to be able to see and hear and react with the acuity of a young adult and if not, it's their fault. LE doesn't have to do surveillance on the house to assess the situation; they just go in and start blasting and if it goes bad, it's magically someone elses fault, and guess who that is. And the “price” of that "fault" is quite “steep”.

Glad I'm not in Atlanta anymore,
Crypto6

SewingDeb
11-28-2006, 12:13 AM
I think the bold says it all. She was WRONG!

Could she hear? She was 92.

CyberLaw
11-28-2006, 07:44 AM
Anyone who opens fire on the Police, will have to encounter fire power back. This women shot three Police Officers, if she did not die, do you really think that she would not be facing charges.

This was not self-defence, she fired first.

Animal04216
11-28-2006, 08:18 AM
Actually I am going to back up a bit on this one. They are now saying the informant claims he DID NOT buy from her house. I have a real problem with that if it is true. If the police are serving a no knock warrant, and announce themselves, and have the right house, by all means they have a right to shoot if they are shot upon. I will wait, with my opinion on hold for the time being, because something stinks in Atlanta!

Animal04216
11-28-2006, 08:20 AM
Could she hear? She was 92.

Actually they have corrected themselves she was 88 I believe--if I heard correctly on the news the other night.

Animal04216
11-28-2006, 08:25 AM
Sorry, Animal; usually I agree with your opines, but this is plain wrong. The lady had a gun to defend herself, and that's what she did, and quite well. It is incumbent on the police to know the full situation before they crash into someones home at gunpoint; little facts such as the owner is old, alone, and likely can't hear or see well. The informant said the cops were wrong, the neighbors said the cops were wrong, and a dead 88 year old says the same. Blaming the victim and those who sought to give her a measure of security is what stinks here. The woman was 88 years old and alone; there is no way conceivable to justify what was done to her. Even if drugs were dealt out of her house, do you think she knew and could be complicit, or could have stopped it if she wished?? Don't you think she'd live in a nice neighborhood where this wouldn't have happened if she could? Don't you think she would hear and see better if she could??
I've cared for such elderly people in rough parts of Atlanta, and they are victimized already; now they have to be able to see and hear and react with the acuity of a young adult and if not, it's their fault. LE doesn't have to do surveillance on the house to assess the situation; they just go in and start blasting and if it goes bad, it's magically someone elses fault, and guess who that is. And the “price” of that "fault" is quite “steep”.

Glad I'm not in Atlanta anymore,
Crypto6
My point about giving her a gun was, at that age most are not allowed to drive. What if she were to accidentally shoot her niece or nephew? That is what doesnt make sense to me. Yes, I know ATlanta is not safe--I totally agree with that statement. Seems we are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the safety of our elders! i don't know WHAT the solution is, but my opinion is that a gun is NOT the answer. Maybe families taking care of their own--the elderly living with them for their own safety. i just dont know, and I too have taken care of the elderly so I understand their need for being self sufficient. Just a very difficult situation all around!

Jacobi
11-28-2006, 09:36 AM
Actually they have corrected themselves she was 88 I believe--if I heard correctly on the news the other night.
The Fulton Country medical examiners said her records indicate she was 88, but her relatives put her age at 92. She was either born before the great war or after...

What is further troubling about this incident is now the idea that the police may have attempted a cover up:

The informant said police called him and told him "you need to cover our ass."

"It's all on you -- have to tell them about this Sam dude," the informant said police told him.

Masterj
11-28-2006, 10:48 AM
Anyone who opens fire on the Police, will have to encounter fire power back. This women shot three Police Officers, if she did not die, do you really think that she would not be facing charges.

This was not self-defence, she fired first.
She lived in a high crime area and was terrified to even let her neighbors into her house when they were delivering her groceries. She is 90 years old and was in the residence by herself. Who knows if you she was even able to hear them identify themselves or see them clearly.

crypto6
11-28-2006, 10:51 AM
My point about giving her a gun was, at that age most are not allowed to drive. What if she were to accidentally shoot her niece or nephew? That is what doesnt make sense to me. Yes, I know ATlanta is not safe--I totally agree with that statement. Seems we are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the safety of our elders! i don't know WHAT the solution is, but my opinion is that a gun is NOT the answer. Maybe families taking care of their own--the elderly living with them for their own safety. i just dont know, and I too have taken care of the elderly so I understand their need for being self sufficient. Just a very difficult situation all around!

You’re absolutely right. Some of the elderly I knew had no family and some interacted poorly with the one they did have. It doesn’t seem the optimal solution to give an 88 year old a rusty gun, but then again I can’t fathom living where I’m terrorized by the grandkids of the people I grew up with. Some of these elderly can’t even venture outside for groceries without fear of getting robbed and/or beaten, and can’t get to the mailbox before the local hoods have snatched their only check for the month. Maybe in that world a rusty gun looks better.
The 11 years I was in ATL, the city police did well by me, and my interactions showed them to be professional and well trained. I hope this is an aberration and not a trend.

CyberLaw
11-28-2006, 11:19 AM
Well her eyesight was not THAT bad after all she shot all three officers and did not miss.

Now the "drug informant" has changed his story, he has said: They "forced" me to "tell them" they wanted me to "cover" their story. Gee I wonder if he will share in the "proceeds" of any lawsuit, and he is "enticed" to recant that he gave the cops any information that lead to this event.

I doubt that this informant, wants to be held "indirectly" responsible for the death of this older women.........

Things really just don't add, up but they will in time.......

southcitymom
11-28-2006, 12:44 PM
Call me warped, but I would love to go out at the age of 92 in a blaze of gunfire!

Ang50
11-28-2006, 06:32 PM
Call me warped, but I would love to go out at the age of 92 in a blaze of gunfire!I was going to make the same comment!!

This is the problem with "no knock" policies. There are typos and address mistakes ALL THE TIME. Can you imagine if you're at home with your kids and people break down the door in the middle of the night?? Esp. when they meant to get the people next door??

The reason these "searches" have been upheld is b/c drug dealers will flush or hide drugs unless there is a no knock policy. A search warrant is still required, and a no knock special permission is also required.

However, WI had a HUGE wrongful death judgement (2 million $$) against a small town police dept who got the wrong address, did a no-knock, and when the man went to grab his remote control to turn the sound down so he could hear what police were saying - they shot him dead in front of his two year old.

southcitymom
05-22-2008, 01:03 PM
Cop gets 4.5 years for lying after fatal drug raid

By JEFFRY SCOTT and S.A. REID
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/21/08

An Atlanta police officer convicted of lying to investigators about the Kathryn Johnston shooting was sentenced Thursday to four years and six months in prison, as well as six months on probation.


The sentence, handed down by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson, was close to the maximum of five years in prison.
Police detective Arthur Bruce Tesler, 42, spoke on his own behalf at the sentencing hearing. Earlier this week, he was convicted of lying but acquitted of two other charges stemming from the botched drug raid in which the 92-year-old Johnston was killed in a hail of police gunfire. (more at link)

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2008/05/21/tesler_0522.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

invictus
05-22-2008, 01:25 PM
A woman dies and he only gets 4 years? Awesome. Justice for all.

Linda7NJ
05-22-2008, 01:57 PM
A woman dies and he only gets 4 years? Awesome. Justice for all.


right!

A woman dies, and he plants drugs in her house..lies...what a jerk! I can't imagine anyone living to be that old only to have your life snuffed out by some idiot lying cop! It's a damn shame.

golfmom
05-22-2008, 02:42 PM
From the link above:

Johnston was fatally shot after she fired at police as they burst into her residence using a "no-knock" warrant. Tesler, stationed at the rear of the house, fired no shots but admitted in court that he participated in a cover-up of the illegal warrant and of the planting of narcotics in the house to hide the wrongdoing.

So, there really was no consequences for murdering the woman, but he convicted and sentenced for lying.

invictus
05-22-2008, 02:57 PM
From the link above:

Johnston was fatally shot after she fired at police as they burst into her residence using a "no-knock" warrant. Tesler, stationed at the rear of the house, fired no shots but admitted in court that he participated in a cover-up of the illegal warrant and of the planting of narcotics in the house to hide the wrongdoing.

So, there really was no consequences for murdering the woman, but he convicted and sentenced for lying.


His actions cost a woman her life. I don't care if he pulled the trigger that made the fatal shot. He is responsible for her death. Lying here is obviously a crime. Is it a felony? He should be charged with felony murder (any murder resulting in the act of a felony).

golfmom
05-22-2008, 03:26 PM
His actions cost a woman her life. I don't care if he pulled the trigger that made the fatal shot. He is responsible for her death. Lying here is obviously a crime. Is it a felony? He should be charged with felony murder (any murder resulting in the act of a felony).

It blows my mind ... the sentence for a member of law enforcement planting drugs, and covering up the murder of a woman should be far stiffer than just 4 years. :(

philamena
05-22-2008, 03:32 PM
SNIP
...He was convicted of lying but aquitted of two other charges stemming from the botched drug raid in which the 92-year-old Johnston was killed in a hail of police gunfire.


How sad.

southcitymom
02-24-2009, 03:40 PM
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2009/02/23/johnston_sentencing.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_news tab&cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

Ex-Cops Get Prison in Woman's 2006 Killing

KarlK
02-24-2009, 10:04 PM
Lying here is obviously a crime. Is it a felony? He should be charged with felony murder (any murder resulting in the act of a felony).

Perjury is a felony but in order to charge someone with felony murder the prosecutor must prove that the commission of a felony was the original intent that lead to a situation where someone is murdered. For example someone who takes part in a robbery where a victim ends up being killed can be charged with felony murder (in many if not most states) even they aren't the one directly responsible for the death because the original intent was to commit a felony, in this case a robbery.

In the case at hand felony murder cannot be invoked against Tesler because he did not know beforehand that the warrant was illegal, and that the three narcs were intent on committing a felony (planting of evidence) to cover their butts if need be. Tesler's involvement was after the fact.

Regarding the relatively lenient sentences handed out to the narcs who did the shooting one must keep in mind that judges can only sentence someone for the crime(s) they have been found guilty of, not the original charge which is often far more serious. Voluntary manslaughter -usually this means manslaughter with aggravating circumstances such as negligent use of a firearm- rarely nets someone without a previous record more than 10 years so the sentencing is within federal guidelines considering that even if they hadn't been cops these guys would likely have received similar sentences on such a charge. The judge also took into consideration that cops in jail do hard time: they are segregated from general prisoner population for obvious reasons and must serve their sentences with unsavory characters such as child molesters, rapists, snitches and the like. Another factor is that federal courts usually hand out shorter sentences than state courts on similar charges because federal convicts are not eligible to parole. Whereas a 20-year state sentence can translate into as little as 3 years of actual jail time a 5-year federal sentence usually means five years behind bars.

Angels_Not_Forgotten
02-25-2009, 03:38 PM
I was going to make the same comment!!

This is the problem with "no knock" policies. There are typos and address mistakes ALL THE TIME. Can you imagine if you're at home with your kids and people break down the door in the middle of the night?? Esp. when they meant to get the people next door??

The reason these "searches" have been upheld is b/c drug dealers will flush or hide drugs unless there is a no knock policy. A search warrant is still required, and a no knock special permission is also required.

However, WI had a HUGE wrongful death judgement (2 million $$) against a small town police dept who got the wrong address, did a no-knock, and when the man went to grab his remote control to turn the sound down so he could hear what police were saying - they shot him dead in front of his two year old.


When I was 6 and my brother 8, one night we heard a heavy pounding on the door, we followed my father to the door to see who it was and immediately we all had guns drawn on us by a yard full of policeman and were told to lay down on the ground, not even the courtesy to NOT point a gun at a child. they had the wrong address. so yeah, that happens a LOT so i agree with you!