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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ex-cop: Officers routinely lied to obtain search warrants by TEVE VISSER FROM Atlanta Journal Constitution

A former Atlanta police officer testified Thursday that narcotics officers routinely lied under oath when seeking search warrants — a practice that led to police killing a 92-year-old woman.

Former Detective Gregg Junnier told a Fulton County jury that detectives would tell judges that they had verified their informants had bought cocaine from dealers by searching them for drugs before the buy took place.

"I have never seen anyone searched before they go into the house — I've never seen that done — even though officers always swear to it," Junnier said. "It's done that way in 90 percent of the warrants that are written."

But it wasn't just lies to get the warrant to search Kathryn Johnston's home that made Junnier uneasy, he said. He had an inkling something was wrong when he and Officer Jason R. Smith were leading the narcotics team to the front door. He said the northwest Atlanta house differed from the informant's description.

"I said, 'Man, this doesn't look right,' and he said, 'I know,' " Junnier testified. " 'I said what do you want to do.' He said, 'Hit it.'"

A minute later, Johnston [the 92-year-old woman] was lying on her floor, dying.

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