Pubdate: Sat, 28 Apr 2007
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Rhonda Cook, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Bookmark: (Policing - United States)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)

The Kathryn Johnston Shooting


City Searches for Answers in Response to Officers' Guilty Pleas on 
Botched Drug Raid

A day after two Atlanta police officers pleaded guilty in state and 
federal courts to killing 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston during a 
botched drug raid, the city searched for answers.

Chief Richard Pennington took part of Friday off and could not be 
reached for comment.

Mayor Shirley Franklin was on a trade mission to Asia. She e-mailed a 
response to specific questions posed by the newspaper.


1. Why has the city been quiet in its response to the shooting?

2. Federal authorities says there is pervasive corruption because 
officers are trying to make quotas. Is that a concern?

3. What is the administration's opinion on Chief Pennington's leadership?

4. There has been criticism of Chief Pennington's management style, 
that he is too hands off. Do you agree?

5. There was notice that indictments would be returned this week. Did 
the mayor [consider not making] her trip?

6. Do you believe there is corruption within the police department, 
especially within the narcotics unit?

7. What is the reaction to the FBI's findings released so far?

8. Does Chief Pennington have specific, measurable performance 
standards ... to keep his job or earn incentives?

9. Are you satisfied with the police department's response to 
Thursday's indictments?

The Response From Mayor Franklin

"I was not aware of the timing of the indictment announcement, so I 
could not plan the business trip to Asia around that. About 30 days 
ago I was briefed by Chief Pennington regarding the seriousness of 
the charges and the investigation, but not when an announcement was expected.

"Chief Pennington has been responsive and accessible to the community 
since the shooting in November.

"We have fully cooperated with federal agents during the 
investigation and will continue to support and assist them in their 
efforts to identify any illegal and inappropriate behavior or 
practices in the Atlanta Police Department.

"I know that Chief Pennington responded to the charges on behalf of 
the city at the ... news conference [Thursday] and reiterated that 
illegal activity would not be tolerated in Atlanta.

"He has already started to implement recommendations and changes as a 
result of the investigation, and we will continue to take action on 
any new findings.

"We have come a long way from where we started, and we have a long 
way to go to become a best-in-class police department. But I have no 
doubt that Chief Pennington's professionalism and compassionate 
leadership throughout this investigation are evidence of his 
commitment to help us reach that goal.

"This was a tragic loss for the Johnston family and for our entire 
community whose trust we must work to restore."
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