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Investigation: 2 more APD cops should be fired
Three and a half years after police killed a 92-year-old woman in a botched drug raid, Atlanta continues to pay officers who admit they routinely lied to obtain search warrants for drugs, an investigative report says.
Now, a report submitted to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board contends, it’s time to fire them.
Holly Buchanan and Cary Bond were not indicted in connection with the Kathryn Johnston shooting, but severe discipline (i.e. dismissal) is warranted for their lies and violations of the law, CRB director Cris Beamud’s report said.
A third officer has resigned, but Beamud called on the city to report Brad Burchfield’s misconduct to the state police accreditation agency.
According to the report, obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act:
— Buchanan used “hand-off” search warrants provided by other detectives and worked with confidential informants who had not been properly vetted and registered by the department. She told investigators she had only a “vague idea” of the department’s Standard Operating Procedures for making drug buys:
Officer Buchanan explained that the practice of using hand-offs was used by her team pretty regularly, especially if an officer did not meet the “nine and two” requirements. The nine and two requirements were that each officer had to make nine arrests and two search warrants each month in order to meet acceptable standards of productivity.
— Bond lied to obtain search warrants and ignored numerous precautions to make sure drug arrests could stand up in court:
[H]e readily admitted that he did not conduct confirmation buys prior to executing a search warrant. He also admitted that he did not see the informant go to the address to make the drug purchase and that information was frequently included in the search warrant application. He permitted Alexis White to travel and to make drug buys from residents on his own. Bond did not conduct pat downs on the informants. He explains that [Detective Gregg] Junnier taught him to do this.
— Burchfield, after Junnier was implicated in the Johnston shooting, and his partner Daniel Betts took over collections from private property owners who had been paying Junnier for protection. Junnier later admitted that he and other officers took payments from small businesses in exchange for answering their calls to police; businesses that didn’t pay didn’t get police protection.
Betts give a statement to the FBI pursuant to a plea agreement indicating that in December 2006 Burchfield told him that Junnier gave him extra jobs and that by the end of January 2007 they lost most of the extra jobs. … Burchfield handled almost everything and they collected payments while on duty. Betts also stated that Burchfield arranged for other APD officers to work security for a festival. After Burchfield was suspended, Betts gave him half of the money he received from performing extra jobs.
Betts later pleaded guilty to federal extortion charges and was sentenced to probation.
Sgt. Wilbert Stallings, Junnier’s supervisor, has admitted permitting detectives to work these “extra jobs” while on duty and sharing in the profits. Stallings is serving an 18-months federal prison sentence for his role in a police break-in at a private residence without a search warrant.