The Nature of the Animal

There’s a wild predator of an animal loose in Atlanta, Georgia. He works for the Altlanta Police Department, which, for most Atlantans, is the entity most likely to cause them harm as they go about their daily business. That’s why the police are generally considered Public Enemy Number One in my book.

Stop and think about it. You face a lot of various risks in your life, some just random natural occurrences, or chance, and some of them caused by purposeful acts of other people that end up harming you or even killing you. Think about it honestly. Depending on where you live, do you really have a greater fear of harm coming to you by some civilian thug, or a thug in uniform, SWAT gear, or tattered sport coat with badge and gun? For many, including myself, I argue the latter. While I’ve never had a run-in with a civilian thug, I’ve had plenty of interactions with cops, and never a single one as a result of me hurting anyone, or likely to hurt anyone. I harbor no illusions that they carry clubs and guns, and though I by no means think that all of them are predators, enough of them are that I surely watch my Ps & Qs whenever I have to deal with them — even at a casual level. My risk is simply far greater that I’ll be the victim of a predatory cop than anyone else.

Now, the predator loose in Atlanta is officer Arthur Tesler, or Arthur B. Tesler, who, in my opinion, is responsible for the recent murder of Kathryn Johnston and attempts to cover it up, including attempting to use his authority to intimidate an informant into incriminating himself by lying on Tesler’s behalf. What a "gem" of a cop. Watch out for this animal. You simply are not safe anywhere around him.

Radley Balko has other details and essential commentary.

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  1. Kyle Bennett on November 30, 2006 at 12:33

    The informant is in *protective* custody…

    Umm, wow. Apparently, even the feds and the rest of the department worry about Officer Tesler's intentions. Or maybe it's the feds worrying about the entire department's intentions.

    Atlanta's finest.

  2. Winston Smith Jr on January 3, 2007 at 04:28

    I got linked to here from . The page you've linked to above was removed by, but fortunately enough, a copy exists in the Google cache here.

    "Officer accused of lying in '01 wreck

    By S.A. REID
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 11/30/06

    An Atlanta narcotics officer tied to last week's deadly drug raid on a elderly woman's home was the subject of a 2002 lawsuit that said he "fabricated" the events that led to his head-on traffic collision with a motorcyclist.

    That rider, Samuel T. Gulley Jr., received a $450,000 payment from the city last year to settle his claims against Officer Arthur B. Tesler, the city and the Atlanta Police Department. The civil case was dismissed from Fulton County State Court after the settlement in September 2005.

    That lawsuit alleged Tesler and other unnamed officers "fabricated traffic charges against Plaintiff, ignored evidence … and improperly initiated criminal proceedings" against Gulley to cover up the fact that Tesler was at fault in the accident that left Gulley with a broken pelvis and broken leg.

    Now the credibility of Tesler and other officers involved in last week's killing is being called into question. Tesler was one of two officers who told a judge they directed a confidential informant through the process of an undercover drug buy at the house occupied by Kathryn Johnston, according to court records.

    After the fatal raid, the informant told the Atlanta police internal affairs unit and a local television station that he wasn't involved in the buy that led to the shooting, and that police officers asked him to fabricate his role in the incident.

    Denies allegations in lawsuit

    In a phone interview, Tesler denied the allegations in the lawsuit but refused to discuss the matter in detail. He said he was aware that the city had settled the traffic case but didn't know the amount.

    He refused to comment on the drug raid.

    "I really don't want to comment on anything or on any other specific cases until everything is done with," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

    Tesler is one of seven narcotics officers and one sergeant on administrative leave pending the outcome of internal, state and federal investigations into the Nov. 21 firefight between three drug officers and Johnston, who was buried Tuesday. Johnston has been identified as 88 years old by authorities but as 92 by family and friends.

    Johnston fired on the officers, wounding all three, after they broke down the front door of her Neal Street home in an attempt to serve a "no-knock" search warrant. She died from gunshots to her chest and extremities.

    Gulley, who accused Tesler in the civil case, did not return calls left with his father. Steven Barnhart, his lawyer in the case, on Wednesday doubted that Gulley would be willing to talk.

    In his lawsuit, Gulley said he was seriously injured when Tesler's patrol car hit his motorcycle head-on after the officer swung wide as he pulled out of a parking lot and into his southbound lane, going the wrong way, the night of May 27, 2001, on Marietta Boulevard in northwest Atlanta.

    The lawsuit accused Tesler of giving an inaccurate description of the events leading up to the accident, which resulted in traffic charges against Gulley that were later dropped.

    Deputy City Attorney Jerry DeLoach said Gulley's injuries and medical expenses, as well as liability issues, justified the $450,000 settlement, which shouldn't be considered an admission of guilt.

    "Looking at all the facts and evidence," he said, "we thought it would be to the city's advantage and the employee's advantage if we minimized our exposure."

    A police report written by Officer Jackson Christopher listed Tesler as the victim and suggested that Gulley ran into the officer's police cruiser.

    Tesler's account had him pursuing a fleeing suspect when he pulled out. But Tesler didn't alert radio dispatchers to the chase because of heavy radio traffic, according to court papers. The lawsuit contradicted Tesler's account by alleging that the officer was on routine patrol and didn't have his emergency lights or siren on at impact.

    Christopher issued Tesler a ticket for driving on the wrong side of the road, according to Barnhart.

    The traffic citation was dropped when Christopher and Gulley failed to appear at Tesler's hearing, court papers said. Christopher was away on military duty at the time and Gulley was recovering from the wreck.

    Gulley suffered serious injuries in the crash that sent him to the hospital for more than 90 days and left him with more than $90,000 in medical bills.

    Based on Tesler's account, Christopher charged Gulley with driving under the influence, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain lane and driving with an expired tag, Barnhart said. Christopher also was named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit.

    Bbood alcohol level below legal limit

    Subsequent test results showed Gulley's blood alcohol level to be below the legal limit, Barnhart said.

    The city's solicitor's office abandoned the failure to yield to an emergency vehicle charge, Barnhart said. All the other charges, except driving with an expired tag, were eventually dismissed, Barnhart said.

    "I think it was pretty stupid," Barnhart said, adding that the accident report didn't support the alleged violations. "The charges were clearly false. The only way to avoid liability is to say he was chasing a subject. Otherwise, he was a negligent driver himself."

    Tesler received a written reprimand after an office of professional standards investigation found that he had violated department policy regarding the operation of city vehicles, according to court papers.

    Atlanta police officials deferred to the FBI, the lead investigative agency in the fatal drug bust case, on questions regarding the case and his punishment. FBI officials declined to comment.

  3. Richard Nikoley on April 26, 2007 at 10:34

    Go fuck yourself, James.

  4. James on April 26, 2007 at 08:45

    I guess if your a white cop and black person fires at you, you just have to lay there and be killed and not fire back. If the cops were black and the woman white no one would care, it would just be another murdered white guy. Is this not the same selective persecution the black man claims happens to him all the time. I ve been attacked by a black man who had a gun on 10 separate occasions, my life has been threatened at least 50 times. Who would want to be a hated white man in America today? Hated by thousands of black man, hated by thousands of Islamic men.

    The hated Christian white man

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