Thursday, May 22, 2008

Zionists put zero value on Palestinian life;

U.S. government puts zero value on Black life

Link to


"Kathryn Johnston’s Killing Should Force Us to Take Another Look at The Whole ‘War on Drugs' "

Date: Thursday, May 03, 2007

By: Gregory Kane,

On BlackAmericaWeb, at:

Kathryn Johnston could have been your grandmother. She could even have been my mother.

Johnston was either 88 or 92 years old, depending on which news report is correct. Last November, the elderly woman -- who lived alone in what must have been a rough Atlanta neighborhood, with only a .38-caliber revolver to protect herself from intruders -- fired one shot when three men invaded her home.

There are documented instances of bonafide criminals fleeing when they hear gunshots. But the men behind this home invasion were a different breed of criminal: The ones who act under cover of authority. All three were narcotics officers for the Atlanta Police Department.

With Amadou Diallo in New York, it was 41 shots. With Sean Bell in the same city, it was 50. The three rogue cops fired 39 shots at Johnston, one of which killed her. Then the cops lied about it. They also lied when they asked for the warrant that gave them legal authority to break into Johnston’s home.

Think about what you would do if your mother or grandmother became -- in one terrifying evening -- the poster woman for collateral damage in the “war on drugs.” Just when you think that we’ve already reached a new low in the “war on drugs,” along comes another outrage to top it. Johnston’s death and the circumstances surrounding it should be the ultimate low that forces us to think about either abandoning the “war on drugs” or finding new ways to fight it.

AP Video

In 1999, we had the incredible tale of Tom Coleman lying over 40 people into lengthy prison terms. Coleman was an “undercover narcotics cop” in the town of Tulia, Texas. He was also a perjurer and a thief. Most of the 40-plus people sent to prison based on his bogus testimony were black.

Four years later, New York City police crashed through the doors of 57-year-old Alberta Spruill’s home and set off a flash grenade. They actually had handcuffs on her before they realized their confidential informant had sent them to the wrong house. The drugs they were looking for weren’t there. The man police were looking for was already in jail. Spruill died of a heart attack induced by the flash grenade.

As in the Spruill case, a confidential informant figured in the death of Johnston. But this wasn’t a case of the informant giving bad information. It was one of the cops actually trying to get the informant to lie so they could cover up the raid on Johnston’s home.

This trio of jump-out boys -- Gregg Junnier, Jason R. Smith and Arthur Tesler -- got a tip that drugs were in Johnston’s house. Instead of following Police Procedure 101 -- getting an informant to make a drug buy from the house -- the cops decided to skip that part. They lied in the affidavit for a warrant and said a buy had already been made. After they shot Johnston, they handcuffed her as she lay bleeding and planted three bags of marijuana in her basement. Then they told their informant to say he had bought drugs at Johnston’s house.

The lie didn’t hold up for long. Junnier cracked the first time he talked to FBI agents investigating the case. Once he started blubbering the truth, the entire conspiracy became undone. The web of lies unraveled. Now prosecutors aren’t just looking at the conduct of Junnier, Smith and Tesler, but at the entire Atlanta Police Department.

“Prosecutors said Atlanta police officers regularly lied to obtain search warrants and fabricated documentation of drug purchases, as they had when they raided the home of … Kathryn Johnston,” said a story in the April 27 edition of The New York Times.

We don’t know how many heads will roll for this one, or how high the head-hunting will go, but Tesler may have provided a clue. the Times story says that “Mr. Tesler’s lawyer, John Garland, said his client was following his training when he put false claims in an affidavit.”

Tesler rejected a plea agreement and will stand trial. Junnier and Smith pleaded guilty last week to a number of charges in state and federal court, among them voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to violate Johnston’s civil rights. Junnier will serve 10 years in federal prison and will serve nearly 13.

Both got off way too easy. But the harshest punishment shouldn’t be meted out to the foot soldiers in the “war on drugs.” That fate should be reserved for the generals who run it.