Mistaken address?

theHawk

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I love how the family lawyer is saying the police had no right to fire back. They were shot at first, what are they supposed to do? Run?
 

Hobbit

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I love how the family lawyer is saying the police had no right to fire back. They were shot at first, what are they supposed to do? Run?
Not only were they shot at, they were hit. Three cops were hit by this granny. Too bad they were cops instead of burglars, and that she was too paranoid to believe them when they identified themselves as cops.
 
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Mr. P

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Not only were they shot at, they were hit. Three cops were hit by this granny. Too bad they were cops instead of burglars, and that she was too paranoid to believe them when they identified themselves as cops.
Worse, they MAY have had the wrong address. We'll see in time.
 

NATO AIR

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Not only were they shot at, they were hit. Three cops were hit by this granny. Too bad they were cops instead of burglars, and that she was too paranoid to believe them when they identified themselves as cops.
Actually, if one knows urban police officers and police officers who work in high-crime neighborhoods, they can tell you plenty of horror stories of robbers, rapists and kidnappers who pretend to be police. The people in these neighborhoods are scared to death of that happening to them.

Right or wrong address (and perhaps the information they had came from an inaccurate informer or one with an alterior motive, hmm, hmm, hasn't that happened a lot in the past?), the lady likely thought they were crooks. I feel bad for the cops, but they've done this to themselves by depending on informers and on using militaristic tactics which crooks have caught on to... once again, civilians caught in the middle.
 

Annie

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Worse, they MAY have had the wrong address. We'll see in time.
I think this is probably a 'no knock' case, we'll see. I'm certainly not one to jump on the police. Ask yourself, the odds of a lady of those years, hitting three officers as they approach? If indeed that's the case, how is it they had time to 'identify themselves' after knocking?

My guess, they had a tip on 'drug pusher', went with 'no knock', she was armed and scared-she was not a drug pusher. Very sad, all around.

No knocks should only be employed after extensive stake outs and/or terrorism or like threat to community in general. Face it, drugs immediately effect only those using them. I know all about the 'cost' to society, but it's not immediate and not worthy of 'no knock.'
 

NATO AIR

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I think this is probably a 'no knock' case, we'll see. I'm certainly not one to jump on the police. Ask yourself, the odds of a lady of those years, hitting three officers as they approach? If indeed that's the case, how is it they had time to 'identify themselves' after knocking?

My guess, they had a tip on 'drug pusher', went with 'no knock', she was armed and scared-she was not a drug pusher. Very sad, all around.

No knocks should only be employed after extensive stake outs and/or terrorism or like threat to community in general. Face it, drugs immediately effect only those using them. I know all about the 'cost' to society, but it's not immediate and not worthy of 'no knock.'
Amen. God knows if she had survived she could have been in jail like Corey Maye down there in MS.
 

Annie

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More with links:

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/116863.html
Here We Go Again

Radley Balko | November 21, 2006, 11:47pm
Police in Altanta have apparently shot and killed a 92-year-old woman Tuesday night during a drug raid. Details are sketchy, but unless a nonagenerian was pushing dope and using lethal force to protect her supply, the most likely explanation here is that someone sent the tactical team to kick down the wrong door after a bad tip from an informant. Again. Only this time, the spunky old broad inside met the intruders with gunfire:

The woman's niece, Sarah Dozier, says that she bought her aunt a gun to protect herself and that her aunt had a permit for the gun. Relatives believe Johnston was frightened by the officers and opened fire."They kicked her door down talking about drugs, there's no drugs in that house. And they realize now, they've got the wrong house," Dozier said. "I'm mad as hell."

Police insist the warrant was legit, and the house was correct -- which is why I'm guessing the problem originated with the informant.

This of course is why you don't kick down doors for nonviolent offenses in the first place, especially if all you've got is a CI's tip. But you already knew that. Thing is, even if this case is every bit as egregious as it seems, it won't change much. There will be some outrage. Perhaps an apology. Maybe even a few empty promises for reform. And then, in a few months, everything will go back to the way it was before. The only certainty here is that Katherine Johnston won't be the last person to die in one of these stupid raids. Just ask Alberta Spruill.

In the meantime, somebody wanna' hand me another one of those red thumbtacks?

UPDATE: More from the AJC here. Police aren't saying what they were looking for, or what they found inside. Johnston was the only person in the house at the time of the raid. Perhaps this case will prove different, but my experience in researching this stuff is that when police conduct a drug raid, they trot out everything they found -- particularly when the raid resulted in violence. That they've yet to announce any seized contraband doesn't bode well.
 

Annie

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Well I'm not 92, but this would fit me as well, if I had weapons, (which I keep thinking I may):

http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2006/11/and-look-where-its-gotten-us.html

...and look where it's gotten us.

Let me get the obligatory joke out of the way: If I gotta die, I want it to be at 92 years old in a shootout with the cops.

Now for the serious part:

Woman, 92, dies in shootout with police

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Narcotics officers were justified in returning fire on a 92-year-old woman they shot to death as they tried to serve a warrant at her house, a police official said.

Neighbors and relatives said it was a case of mistaken identity. But police said the woman, identified as Kathryn Johnston, was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years.

Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door. He said they were justified in shooting once they were fired upon.

As the plainclothes Atlanta police officers approached the house about 7 p.m. Monday, a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.

One was hit in the arm, another in a thigh and the third in a shoulder. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were conscious and alert, police said.


This is where the War on (Some) Drugs has gotten us, folks: After dark, in a bad neighborhood, three men walk up and start banging on the door of a little old lady's house, demanding to be let in. They say they're police. They say they have a warrant. For whatever reason, she doesn't let them in, and they bust down the door. She opens fire, hitting all three. They gun her down.

Turns out she's innocent.

Swell.


We, as a society, have a lot to be really proud of there, no?

Look, if three burly dudes in street clothes start banging on my door one night and try and force their way into my home, I don't care if they're yelling "Police!" or "Singing Telegram!", that's why I keep a loaded M4 carbine in the house. They're not dressed like cops, and I can think of no reason the police would need to get into my house, so my natural assumption would be that these were home invaders of some sort. If the real police need to talk with me, they can get two guys in stopsign hats and 1 Adam 12 outfits to come knock on my door like civilized people. I, a civilized person myself, will then answer it. They will either say "Miss K., we have a warrant," in which case we'll all go for a ride to the station, call up some lawyers, and get everything as squared away as we can, since this is obviously a mistake, or they will say "Is Mr. Gonzales here? We have a warrant for his arrest," whereupon I will reply
"Why, no; you have the wrong address. Would you like to come in for milk and cookies and to look around and reassure yourselves that there is no Mr. Gonzales here?"
However, when officers in a neighborhood full of brigands dress up like brigands and act like brigands, there should be no shock when citizens like Ms. Johnston respond to their actions as though they were brigands.

How many more Kathryn Johnstons must we kill before we start talking about an exit strategy in the War On Drugs?
 

no1tovote4

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I think this is probably a 'no knock' case, we'll see. I'm certainly not one to jump on the police. Ask yourself, the odds of a lady of those years, hitting three officers as they approach? If indeed that's the case, how is it they had time to 'identify themselves' after knocking?

My guess, they had a tip on 'drug pusher', went with 'no knock', she was armed and scared-she was not a drug pusher. Very sad, all around.

No knocks should only be employed after extensive stake outs and/or terrorism or like threat to community in general. Face it, drugs immediately effect only those using them. I know all about the 'cost' to society, but it's not immediate and not worthy of 'no knock.'
Your guess is wrong. They knocked and announced, per the story...
 

Annie

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Your guess is wrong. They knocked and announced, per the story...
Perhaps. Right now the story and injuries to both officers and woman do not make sense.
 

no1tovote4

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Perhaps. Right now the story and injuries to both officers and woman do not make sense.
It does to me. Bad guys use the same methods hoping people will be foolish enough to open the door. She had no way to know they were cops. Sometimes the bad guys even wear what appears to be uniforms while performing this type of attack.
 

Annie

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It does to me. Bad guys use the same methods hoping people will be foolish enough to open the door. She had no way to know they were cops. Sometimes the bad guys even wear what appears to be uniforms while performing this type of attack.
Reports have her shooting the cops as they approached. Then the spokesman says they identified and knocked. How do you reconcile?

As for her hitting 3 cops outside of close range, doesn't make sense. Then again, if they were in close range, how the 'knocking'?
 

no1tovote4

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Reports have her shooting the cops as they approached. Then the spokesman says they identified and knocked. How do you reconcile?

As for her hitting 3 cops outside of close range, doesn't make sense. Then again, if they were in close range, how the 'knocking'?
Once again. Bad guys in such neighborhoods often use the same tactic in the hopes that those inside will let them have their way. First knocking and announcing, then if no answer busting in wearing what appears to be uniforms.

She had her gun out and prepared and was likely not where they could easily see her. She clearly had some practice with the weapon as well.
 
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Mr. P

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Reports have her shooting the cops as they approached. Then the spokesman says they identified and knocked. How do you reconcile?

As for her hitting 3 cops outside of close range, doesn't make sense. Then again, if they were in close range, how the 'knocking'?
Hearing locally it was a no knock..Yes, they knock but then come right in.
Lots going on yet. I've heard many additional facts today.
 

Annie

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Hearing locally it was a no knock..Yes, they knock but then come right in.
Lots going on yet. I've heard many additional facts today.
Yep, same here. Like I said, my tendencies are on the side of the police, but there are a lot of inconsistencies here. Might be the press...
 

NATO AIR

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Yep, same here. Like I said, my tendencies are on the side of the police, but there are a lot of inconsistencies here. Might be the press...
On tragedies like this, I lean on the side of the civvies, because if you talk to a lot of cops and DA's, they'll be the first to admit that most of these are the fault of the cops. The war on drugs is a dirty business, and its only gotten dirtier the past few years.
 

BaronVonBigmeat

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It probably went down something like this, from what I have read.

1) Police buy drugs from someone (probably her grandson living with her) on her property

2) Police relay this info, get warrant, get their vests on. They may or may not realize the suspect is home, or that grandma lives there

3) Police knock on door, announce "POLICE! OPEN UP!", and give the minimum 3 second wait or whatever is the bare minimum required.

4) Grandma, being extremely old, can't hear shit, certainly through a door, especially if her hearing aids aren't in. All she hears is lots of shouting and pounding, after dark, in a bad neighborhood.

5) Grandma, being extremely old, can't move very fast and can't get to the door fast enough to let them in. If someone pounded on my front door right now, I'm not sure that I could open it in 3 seconds or whatever, from where I'm at now. And if I heard loud pounding and shouting, I'd probably grab the shotgun before looking through the peephole.

Unfortunately, giving people a reasonable amount of time to respond also gives them enough time to flush things down a toilet, which means no convictions. And that in turn means less funding from the DEA.

6) So grandma has (sensibly) grabbed her gun first before answering the door that's being pounded on in a bad neighborhood. Before she gets to the door, police break the door down--standard procedure.

7) Grandma freaks out and starts shooting. Tragedy ensues. I'm not saying the officers involved were necessarily aggressive hotheads; the fundamental evil in all this is the war on drugs, or at least the standard procedure of knocking down doors before people have a chance to respond. Knocking and giving a reasonable time to respond would be better for innocents and policemen both.
 

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