Declare victory in the war on drugs and release the prisoners
That’s what Chuck is fond of saying. But there are times when they don’t take prisoners. Drug warriors rely on bogus tips from paid informants and raid the wrong house or put on their gay little ninja outfits or use excessive force. And someone dies. Pete has a memorial page for drug war casualties. Well, it happened again and this time it’s so embarrassing that it’s getting press and blog play. The AP:
A 92-year-old woman was shot to death Tuesday after she fired at three narcotics officers trying to serve a warrant at her house, officials said.
Neighbors and relatives said it must have been a case of mistaken identity. Police said they had the right address.
Police said the woman, whose name was not released, was the only person home at the time, and had lived there for about 17 years.
As the plainclothes Atlanta police officers approached the house about 7 p.m., 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.
Sarah Dozier, identified as a niece of the woman, told WAGA-TV that there were never any drugs at the house.
“My aunt was in good health. I’m sure she panicked when they kicked that door down,” Dozier said. “There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog.”
Got that? The police likely raided the wrong house and shot dead a 92 year-old woman. Unreal. And, as is standard operating procedure, the wall of silence will go up and no one will be held to account. What others are saying:
Glenn: these raids should only occur when there’s reason to believe that lives are in immediate jeopardy. And police should be liable, civilly and criminally, without any shield of official immunity, in cases where these no-knock raids go wrong.
Radley: You know, watching local news coverage of the shooting, you’d think that the only newsworthy aspect to all of this is that three police officers suffered non-life-threatening wounds. The lack of focus on the fact that a 92-year-old woman is dead is rather appalling.
Pete: No politicians were harmed in the gunfire.
AC: When police make a mistake — someone can die. I am not saying that a no-knock raid, as this clearly was, should never be authorized but you better be damn sure.
My $0.02: Those involved in this raid should be prosecuted. I’m generally for police having legal protection when doing their job correctly. But when they fuck up that bad, they should lose that protection.
If I gotta die, I want it to be at 92 years old in a shootout with the cops.
And she’d probably have landed some head shots. On a more somber note:
We, as a society, have a lot to be really proud of there, no?
Drugs are winning the war on drugs.
Update: Radley caught the police presser:
1) The search warrant was in fact a no-knock warrant.
2) Police claim there was an undercover buy at the residence. The seller was apparently a man — obviously not Ms. Johnston.
3) “Suspected narcotics” were seized from the home, and have been sent to a crime lab for analysis. The assistant chief wouldn’t say how much of the suspected narcotics they found.
4) He also wouldn’t speculate if Johnston herself was involved in dealing drugs, or knew if drugs were being dealt from her home, saying only that both were “under investigation.”
5) He maintains that despite the no-knock warrant police still announced themselves before entering, though he acknowledged moments later that the announcement came as police were battering down the door