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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ex-Cop Sentenced in Corruption Case

Ex-cop sentenced in corruption case
He’s held responsible for ‘out of control’ unit.
Culture of wrongdoing led to elderly woman’s death in a botched raid.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Steve Visser - June 20, 2009

A federal judge sentenced a former Atlanta police sergeant to 18 months in prison Friday, saying he allowed a culture of corruption to run rampant in the narcotics unit he supervised. U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes said she believed Wilbert Stallings, who had 23 years experience with the Atlanta Police, was a “good man,” but he had a responsibility to stop the police corruption that had become common in his unit. That culture culminated with the killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in an illegal raid on a house on Neal Street in 2006. “He was head of a unit that was out of control, ” Carnes said. The federal investigation into the Johnston killing uncovered Stallings’ involvement in an illegal break-in to search a duplex on Dill Avenue in 2005. In that case —- which turned up no illegal drugs —- Stallings told officers to leave a back door unsecured to make the intrusion look like a burglary. “That case was perhaps a harbinger of things to come,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Curt Erskine. “That victim may never again trust law enforcement in any way, and perhaps he is right not to.” Stallings, 45 of Conyers, was working with Officer Gregg Junnier when they committed the Dill Avenue break-in and cover-up. Junnier was the lead officer of the narcotics team that lied to obtain a no-knock search warrant from a judge to raid Johnston’s Vine City house after receiving an erroneous tip that a kilo of cocaine had been stashed there. The officers planted marijuana in the house after killing Johnston, who had fired a shot when they were breaking down her door. Stallings was not directly involved in the Neal Street raid, and Junnier was sentenced to six years in prison for his role. Stallings’ lawyer, Brad Gardner, argued that the former officer deserved probation because, other than the illegal acts of the narcotics unit, he had led a fine life and had cooperated with the federal investigation. “I told Mr. Stallings he was like a classic battered spouse —- you stay from doing what is right … because you don’t want to be mistreated,” Gardner said. “Instead of doing what he knew was the right thing to go, he allowed others to cut corners, and he cut corners.” Stallings pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the civil rights of another person by breaking into a private residence without a warrant. U.S. Attorney David Nahmias’ office recommended the 18-month sentence. Stallings, who entered the guilty plea in March 2008, seemed relieved after the sentencing. “Thank God this situation has come to a conclusion,” he said outside court. He is free on bond pending his surrender to begin serving his sentence.

1 comment:

stolirks said...

Here is what I think should happen to any police officer, police official, judge, govoner,senator, congressman, or any other person that has a job to protect or has the power to make rules for ordinary citizens of this country, convicted of being Involved in any crime... look up what the maximum penalty is for the ordinary person in this country, and then sentence the person in power 3x that maximum penalty. That would stop corruption.