National AP News | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Elderly Shootout Update

ATLANTA (AP) _ The niece of a 92-year-old woman killed by
Atlanta police officers who fired 39 shots into her home during a
botched drug raid sued the city and the police department today on
the one-year anniversary of the slaying.

The lawsuit in Fulton County State Court, which seeks
unspecified damages, alleges racketeering, civil rights violations,
assault, false imprisonment and negligence in the November 21st,
2006, death of Kathryn Johnston at her Neal Street home in Atlanta.

It alleges the officers who raided Johnston's home violated her
rights against unreasonable searches and seizures and the use of
unreasonable and excessive deadly force. The state racketeering
allegation involves several overt acts, including homicide and
witness tampering.

Named as defendants are the city of Atlanta, Atlanta Police
Chief Richard Pennington and five other current and former police
officers.

The lawsuit also seeks an injunction against the city to stop
police from violating anyone else's civil rights.

An attorney for the city, Jerry De Loach, declined to comment.
He said the city has yet to be served with the lawsuit and wants to
review it before responding.

Tonight, Franklin, Pennington and police officers were among
about 100 people taking part in a candlelight service at the
Lindsay Street Baptist Church. After the ceremony, a group holding
lighted candles and led by Johnston family spokesman Markel
Hutchins walked a few blocks to the elderly woman's house where
they released some doves.

Pennington said he had no comment about the lawsuit, but hoped
that through the service, which was sponsored by the police
department, city officials could show their sincerity of their
remorse over the incident.


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