Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's a start.

The relatives of Kathryn Johnson, gunned down in her home by Atlanta cops serving a dope warrant that they knew was based on bogus info, will be receiving $4.9 million from Atlanta's taxpayers to settle the family's lawsuit against the city. This closes out the civil side of things; on the criminal side, three of the cops involved have already been sent to prison for their role in the murder and the subsequent cover-up.

None of this, of course, brings Kathryn Johnson back

23 comments:

staghounds said...

As these things go, that's a pretty good payout.

But nothing ever does justice.

Tam said...

I'm a little appalled a the light sentences; a couple of these guys are doing five years in Club Fed with their state sentences running concurrently. For killing a woman and planting drugs in her house, all on a known crooked tip. It doesn't get much more heinous, in my eyes.

Robert said...

They're missing a zero in that settlement, IMO.

Joel said...

True, they deserved to die. I try to comfort myself with the knowledge of how rarely there are any consequences at all. "The officers' actions were all within department policy," "They feared for their safety," "It was simply a tragic accident."

jmbob86 said...

"As these things go, that's a pretty good payout."

Not for the deceased, it isn't. The lawyers..... $KA-CHING$!

Matt G said...

It's not not nearly enough, but Staghounds is right-- it's a pretty good pay-out, pretty fast (in the realm of such civil suits, this one was cleared at c speed.).

I suspect that the City Of Atlanta agreed to the final settlement relatively quickly, to actually attempt to atone for its police department's misdeeds.


Obviously, I'm still furious about this.

Anonymous said...

How do you tell the difference between a home invasion and a no-knock warrant?

tomcatshanger said...

You won't go to prison for murder if it's a home invasion, duh.

Tam said...

tomcatshangar,

Probably not. Depends on the jurisdiction. ;)

perlhaqr said...

Robert: I'd more say they're missing a zero on the prison terms.

But hey, I hear we're finally winning the War on Drugs... *sigh*

tomcatshanger said...

Doh, yeah, that's true.

I was assuming free America where they don't tend to prosecute self defense, but for some reason still believe in the thin blue line that separates the rest of us from agents of the .gov.

Silly of me, I admit.

Robert said...

perlhaqr: Yes, you are absolutely correct.

Stranger said...

That's not much money for a heinous crime. But it was much the same deal as the BATmen's first "big bust."

Acting on a car thief's tip that Kenyon Ballew had a machine gun, unmarked BATmen broke Ballew's door down and shot him down when he streaked for the telephone.

But Ballew got nary a dime from the dot.gov. At least Atlanta will pay something.

Stranger

theirritablearchitect said...

"True, they deserved to die..."

Didn't one of the cops involved already off himself, before the trial got started?

B Smith said...

Early on, I had heard that Mrs. Johnson had wounded three officers with four shots from her old revolver. Later, it was reported that the officers were all wounded by 'friendly fire'. Either way...

Anonymous said...

"How do you tell the difference between a home invasion and a no-knock warrant?"

Here's a "what if": Would the result for you change if your No Trespassing or alarm company sign had the phrase: "If you have official business, please make an appointment during normal business hours to avoid being mistaken for an intruder."

Laughingdog said...

I'm absolutely sure I'm going to piss off a lot of people with this, but I think that 4.9 million is as ridiculously high as the criminal sentences for the cops are ridiculously low.

Civil suits are should be a tool to recoup actual losses. I guarantee she would not have provided $4.9 million to her family if she had not been murdered. If civil suits are to be used as a form of penance as well, it's a bit ridiculous to apply that same mentality when the organization being sued isn't really the one paying the money in the end.

Now if that 4.9 million was being paid personally by the mayor, police chief, etc., it would make a lot more sense.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Wonder what happened to the other 2 cops (not the 3 in the Pen) that was mentioned in the bottom of the story.

TimP said...

Yeah, I agree with Laughingdog, if it was up to me I'd probably drop a zero of the civil sentence, and also drop the length of the imprisonment. (I disagree with keeping prisoners on death row for longer than around a year) Though since they're not going to get executed, I'd just add the zero to the prison sentences.

Anonymous said...

"...gunned down in her home by Atlanta cops serving a dope warrant that they knew was based on bogus info..."

Why? To what end? I've never seen that explained. I'm a big proponent of "following the money" and its equivalent to explain almost everything. I'd like to know who benefited and how from this old lady being set up. How high does it really go?

"The relatives...will be receiving $4.9 million from Atlanta's taxpayers..."

Again, why? Ridiculous sums paid to non-victims by non-perpetrators...why does that sound familiar? Reparations? Bullshit.

Murderers with or without a badge should pay with their own lives, of course. And when they act with deadly force under color of government, every link in the chain that caused, enabled, or concealed it should pay the same.

But throwing five mil (probably ten all told) of innocent peoples' hard-earned money at surrogate victims who suffered no reimbursable loss serves only to create more victims while allowing another set of gov agents to take credit, feel good about themselves, and -they hope- buy them some votes down the line.

Justice denied for Ms. Johnson, and to the extent that the system and methods that cost her her life are essentially unchanged, also for the *many* past and future victims of similar malfeasance, fatally flawed administration, and outright criminal activity that is more widespread at police agencies large and small than any of us would care to think.

AT

Will said...

What happened with the guy who shot the undercover(?) cop who was crawling in through the busted open front door in a no knock raid? Seems it was about the same time frame, IIRC. After shooting the guy, he grabbed his family and hustled them out the back door while calling 911, only to find the back yard full of cops. He was charged with murder, IIRC. Can't find it with goggle.

Laughingdog said...

Will, I think you're referring to Ryan Frederick, though he lived alone. He shot the cop with a .380, because he thought he was being robbed...again.

The original charge was capital murder (which was ridiculous), and he was eventually convicted of manslaughter (which is the most he should have been charged with in the first place). He's still in jail.

Basically, two lives ended (both his and the officer's) because of bad policy and questionable methods by the officers directly involved with the investigation. IIRC, Det. Shivers was just along for what supposedly was not, in fact, a no-knock raid.

Anonymous said...

The Atlanta police have been doing this sort of thing for decades. It got worse when the corrupt Mayor Maynard Jackson appointed his college room mate public safety director. It worsened under Bill Campbell in the 90's when he made his mistress chief of police. Atlanta cops have always been left-overs from recruiting raids by Houston and Detroit. Corrupt and cowardly.