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November 20, 2007
RADLEY BALKO OBSERVES THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY of the Kathryn Johnston raid in Atlanta:
Shortly after the shooting, the police alleged that they had paid an informant to buy drugs from Ms. Johnston's home. They said she fired at them first, and wounded two officers. And they alleged they found marijuana in her home.
We now know that these were all lies. In fact, everything about the Kathryn Johnston murder was corrupt. The initial arrest of the ex-con came via trumped-up charges. The police then invented an informant for the search warrant, and lied about overseeing a drug buy from Johnston's home.
Ms. Johnston didn't actually wound any of the officers. They were wounded by fragments of ricochet from their own storm of bullets. And there was no marijuana. Once they realized their mistake, the officers handcuffed Ms. Johnston and left her to bleed and die on the floor of her own home while they planted marijuana in her basement. . . . If any good has come of this, it's that the media coverage surrounding Kathryn Johnston's death has at least exposed the country to the widespread use of "dynamic entry" tactics for routine service of drug warrants, and the rather predictable problems that come with armed police breaking into someone's home.
Your drug-war tax dollars at work. Sadly, incidents like this are all too common.