By Bill Rankin
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
A federal judge who sent three fallen cops to prison for a notorious drug raid that left an elderly woman dead said Tuesday that Atlanta Police Department performance quotas influenced the officers’ behavior.
“It is my fervent hope the Atlanta Police Department will take to heart what has happened here,” U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes said. At the close of an emotional two-day hearing, Carnes sentenced former officers Gregg Junnier, Jason R. Smith and Arthur Bruce Tesler to between five and 10 years in prison.
At the hearing, Tesler’s lawyer provided examples of other Atlanta police officers who broke the rules or violated the law and said a disturbing culture of misconduct pervades the force.
Carnes imposed the most severe sentence —- 10 years —- on Smith, 36, who obtained the illegal, no-knock search warrant allowing officers to batter down 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston’s door.
A terrified Johnston, thinking she was victimized by a home invasion, fired a warning shot through the door. Narcotics officers responded with a hail of gunfire, killing her.
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This case shows how the drug war invites corruption and is an incentive for cops to lie in order to get warrants and how there is a different standard of punishment if a cop kills an innocent person than if a regular person kills an innocent person. I'm really surprised that they got any time at all. Usually they don't. But it isn't enough. They should spend the rest of their sorry, despicable lives behind bars. Too bad they are getting sent to club fed. They should have to do state time at say Holman down in South Alabama.