Steve G.

Dirty cop convicted in no-knock warrant death of 92-year-old woman

In Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug War, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Obituaries, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police Brutality, Police State on May 21, 2008 at 4:37 pm

After two Atlanta cops (Gregg Junnier and Jason R. Smith) pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and federal civil rights violations in the death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, a third cop (Arthur Bruce Tesler) has been found guilty by a jury of lying in the investigation into the woman’s death. Tesler did not fire any of the shots in the raid.

Tesler and his partners Junnier and Smith had gotten a no-knock warrant, claiming that there was a kilo of cocaine in the house, but they lied about whether they had confirmed the information from their informant. Consequently they busted into the elderly woman’s home in plainclothes, shot and killed her when she shot at them – undoubtedly in self-defense, believing them to be intruders – then planted drugs in her house to make it look like a “good” bust.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The jury acquitted Tesler on two charges from the illegal 2006 narcotics raid in which officers shot and killed Kathryn Johnston in her northwest Atlanta home. It found him guilty of lying in an official investigation in the cover-up of police wrongdoing that followed the shooting.

“It is not like anyone intended to hurt her, but that’s what came out of it,” Woltz said. “Right will win out.”

Tesler, 42, faces up to five years in prison when sentenced Thursday. If he had been convicted on all counts, he could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The verdict came shortly after the jury reviewed a transcript of Tesler’s defense testimony. He and his two partners were accused of lying to get the no-knock search warrant for Johnston’s home on the mistaken belief it was the house of a drug dealer.

The Johnston killing shocked metro Atlanta and enraged many in the African-American community, who complained that shoddy or heavy-handed police work in the war on drugs was a source of repeated abuses.

You can read the article in its entirety on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  1. Wow there may actually be some justice in the world afterall. Of course the cop probably wouldn’t have gotten in any trouble whatsoever if he had just shot the old lady and not bothered to plant the evidence.

  2. It’s about time. Police officiers are not here to protect. They run inside betting to see who can make the most arrests. They are promoted for trumping up charges to felonies. They don not care about citizen’s life’s or the fact that they could ruin an entire family for participating in illegal practices and policy.
    Big Brother is BAD!!!!

  3. I have been a victim of law enforcement harrasment and I have yet to find out why! But, moving ahead, I am an example of the impact that harrasment has on a person because you just don’t expect lies from law enforcement. From the little old gossipy lady down the street, maybe, but not the police.

  4. It sounds like a “Good Cop” who was trying to do his job for the community was in a bad situation.Police officers never go to work looking to kill anyone.Sometimes things go very wrong and it was tragic that somone was killed.But it is also tragic that now somone is going to jail for doing his job!!!

  5. Frederick, did you actually bother to read the article, much less think it through before you left that comment?

    Let me spell it out for you, since you either (a) think cops can do no wrong, or (b) just don’t understand what really happened.

    These cops lied under oath to a judge before any of this happened. To get a no-knock warrant, they needed to first make a controlled buy. In other words, they had to know for a fact, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that there were drugs being sold in the house, and they had to have a good-faith belief that it was too dangerous for police to enter the dwelling with a regular warrant. Yet they didn’t do a controlled buy, and didn’t even bother to find out that it was just a 92-year-old lady living there. Had they told the truth under oath when requesting the no-knock warrant, no judge would ever have issued it. Had they told the truth, they could not have gotten a warrant at all, and they knew that.

    After knowingly obtaining an illegal warrant, they burst into Mrs. Johnston’s home like the Guns of Navarrone, without uniforms and without announcing that they were the police. That poor old woman had no way of knowing they were the police, so she was completely within her rights to shoot at what she reasonably believed to be armed intruders in her home. After all, a woman that old has no other defenses, and she lived in a very bad neighborhood (which was probably a decent neighborhood when she moved there long ago) so it was completely reasonable for her to believe they were violent criminals (and as it turns out, she was right about that). She merely acted in self-defense, as was her absolute right.

    Their response when a woman that old started shooting was not to take cover and yell out “Don’t shoot!” or “Police!”, but to murder Mrs. Johnston in a veritable hail of bullets. Once they realized she was completely innocent of any wrongdoing, they intentionally planted a large amount of evidence to make it look like she was a cocaine trafficker. They then repeatedly lied under oath in the official investigation into Mrs. Johnston’s death.

    They also pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Why? Because they had no legal right to be in her house at all, since the warrant was based upon a lie; and when she tried to defend herself, as was her constitutional right when armed intruders burst into her home, they murdered her in cold blood, then framed her for a crime she did not commit.

    To take it a step further …. Just think about their planting drugs in her house for a minute. Where did these cops even get a kilo of cocaine? In case you’re not aware, that’s a LOT of cocaine. Did they seize it from a drug dealer, not report it, and keep it just in case they ever needed or wanted to plant evidence? That seems the most likely scenario, and it’s hardly unheard of for cops to do that. It’s not as if they could have possessed it legally, because that is an impossibility.

    Who knows how many times these dirty cops had kept drugs seized from dealers, or how many times they planted drugs on innocent people. They could have been doing it for years in order to bolster their own careers. Few people are going to believe defendants who say the cops planted evidence on them, after all. They could also have been selling the seized drugs to line their own pockets, since few people would believe that either. For all anyone knows, these cops were hopped up on coke when they busted into Mrs. Johnston’s house. I simply wouldn’t put anything past anyone who gets involved in that level of criminal activity.

    So tell me, what part of that equation – the possession of an entire kilo of cocaine, the many, many lies under oath to a judge and investigators, the cold-blooded murder of an innocent old lady in her own home – spells “Good Cop” to you? What part of it do you consider “doing his job”? I’m not being facetious, mind you. I’d really like to know how on earth you came to that incredibly twisted conclusion.

    Look, there is NO gray line in this situation, though obviously the thin blue line is alive and well as always. These cops intentionally broke every single rule and law created to protect innocent citizens, and they repeatedly engaged in grossly criminal activity. Prison is exactly where they belong because they are criminals, pure and simple.

  6. […] country are apparently more than happy to trample all over the Constitution. In Georgia, in 2007, a 92 year old woman was shot and killed by police due to an illegally obtained no-knock warrant. In 1999, it happened in Colorado. And […]

  7. Mr. Wagner, murdering an innocent person is not your job, it’s not my job, and it is not supposed to be the job of cops, either. Ergo, it is not at all tragic if the murderer gets what he deserves.

    Good day,
    Alex Peak

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