We seem to have become a police state.
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The severe burning of a 19-month-old toddler could accomplish what the unnecessary killing of a 92-year-old woman couldn’t – reining in the use of no-knock warrants by SWAT teams in Georgia.
In 2006, an elderly Kathryn Johnston was gunned down by an Atlanta police SWAT team as she pulled out a rusty revolver to protect herself from what she thought were robbers breaking into her home in the middle of the night. It turned out that the police, looking for drugs, had raided the wrong house.
After that incident, two Georgia lawmakers, state Sens. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, and Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, introduced a bill in 2007 that would have set limits on the use of no-knock warrants. It passed the state Senate but died in the House.
Now, after another botched drug raid – this time in rural Habersham County in northeast Georgia, where a sheriff’s deputy threw a flash-bang grenade into a sleeping toddler’s crib – the two lawmakers are renewing their call for reform.