Could Charges Against Atlanta Cops Thwart Federal Probe?


The decision by chief Atlanta prosecutor Paul Howard to break ranks with a federal investigation could thwart

a federal investigation into systematic wrongdoing in the Atlanta Police Department , say attorneys for two Atlanta narcotics officers who could face murder charges in a botched drug raid. The family of Kathryn Johnston, the elderly woman killed in that raid, agrees, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This family doesn’t want vengeance,” said the Rev. Markel Hutchins, spokesman for Johnston’s family since the Nov. 21 shooting. “None of us believe these police officers had intent to commit murder.”

On Wednesday Howard told attorneys for three officers that prosecutors would go before a grand jury Feb. 26 and seek charges against the veteran policemen. The charges being sought include felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, burglary, making false statements and violation of oath. The three officers were involved in securing a “no-knock” search warrant for Johnston’s home, apparently believing there would be a kilo of cocaine inside. Shortly before the raid, an officer told a judge he had a confidential informant buy $50 worth of crack at the home from a man named “Sam.” There was no “Sam,” say proposed indictments. The woman, after hearing her door being smashed in, fired a revolver at officers coming in and was killed by return fire.


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