Atlanta Police Chief Apologizes for 92-year-old’s Shooting Death

Posted: 11/24/2009 09:49 AM EST

The Atlanta chief of police has apologized to the African-American community for the death of a 92-year-old woman who was gunned down in her own home during a botched drug raid three years ago.

On Nov. 21, 2006, members of the Atlanta Police Department’s special drug unit stormed into the home of Kathryn Johnston and shot her twice in the chest.

“I take full responsibility for what happened. What happened to Mrs. Johnston was tragic,” said Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington at a town hall meeting at the Lindsay Street Baptist Church. “I don’t think anybody ever apologized to the Johnston family. But I’d like to take this moment to personally apologize. You can’t have an ongoing healing process until someone steps up and say they were wrong.”

Armed with an illegal, no-knock search warrant, the officers broke down Johnston’s door and shot the elderly woman as she fired back in self-defense. After killing her, they planted marijuana in her house.

Three of the officers involved are now in prison.

“We went through some difficult times and no one felt it more than I did,” Pennington said. “The officers broke the law. I was appalled and hurt. I don’t think this hurt will ever go away.”

From Our Partners