Three former Atlanta police officers have been sentenced to prison in one of the most disturbing recent cases of police abuse. Former officers — Jason Smith, Gregg Junnier and Arthur Tesler — were sentenced to ten to three years for their roles in the death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston.
The officers were accused of an astonishing range of criminal acts leading to Johnson’s death. It began with the planting on drugs on a dealer named Fabian Sheats. They wanted to bust Sheats to help meet an informal quota for such arrests. When he came up clean, they planted pot that they had found earlier. They then forced him to give them an address of a house were they would buy drugs.
Sheats appears to have randomly pointed out 933 Neal St., the home of Johnston, and told them to look for a guy named “Sam.” However, they could not find a snitch to buy the drugs and departmental rules prevented them from using Sheats. So, they fabricated information on a warrant and got approval for a “no knock” entry.
Since took about two minutes to bust down the door on Johnston’s house and the old lady had time to grab a gun and fire once — wildly missing the officers. They responded with 39 bullets — hitting and killing Johnston five or six times — though strangely the police department could not tell which officer actually killed Johnston. The police fire also wounded Junnier and two other officers.
When they did not find any drugs, the officers are accused of planting drugs on the house and claiming that they informant had purchased drugs at their request from the house. For the background on the case, click here.
Smith, 36, of Oxford, Georgia, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Junnier, 42, of Woodstock, Georgia, was sentenced to six years in federal prison. Tesler, 42, of Acworth, Georgia was sentenced to five years in federal prison.