Another convert to the Kathryn Johnston story — the Associated Press.
This is pretty amazing for the AP! Atlanta police give few details for ‘no knocks’
Atlanta police often offer only cursory details when asking judges for so-called “no-knock” warrants that allow them to burst into homes unannounced, like the one used when an elderly woman was killed in a shootout with plainclothes officers as they stormed her home, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. […]
An AP review of all no-knock warrants filed in Atlanta’s Fulton County this year found that authorities often give scant detail when applying for the warrants, which are typically used to search for drugs and weapons. […]
“One of the problems we have in the country are that lower-level judges who issue search warrants are notorious for being rubber stamps,” said Donald E. Wilkes Jr., a University of Georgia law professor who studies the practice. “This is compounded by the fact that police tend to use these boilerplate allegations for no-knock search warrants.”
Use of the warrants has ramped up as the war on drugs has intensified, said Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer who teaches police studies at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“The problem is that you do get cases where police bust down the wrong door and people die,” he said. “And to me, it’s not worth it. I don’t really care if they flush the drugs down the toilet. I don’t care if drugs are destroyed. So what? It’s not like the drug war is being won.” […]
The NAACP is now calling for the establishment of a civilian review board with subpoena powers. On Sunday, the Rev. Al Sharpton called for a congressional inquiry into incidents like Johnston’s and the fatal police shooting on Nov. 25 of 23-year-old groom-to-be Sean Bell in New York.
Wow! And while they should have credited Radley Balko somewhere in there, I’m also impressed with the fact that they were able to get experts to speak out without even needing him.
This is powerful stuff. And it could give some politicians cover. Even more reason to start asking questions of your local city council or your newspaper as to what safeguards are in place in your community.