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June 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Rogue Atlanta Cop Busted by FBI Gets 18 Months in Prison

By Rachel Leven
A rogue Atlanta police narcotics officer is headed off to prison, the result of an FBI probe into police misconduct that arose from the fatal atlanta-policeshooting of a 92-year-old woman in a 2006 botched drug raid.

Sgt. Wilbert “Pete” Stalling was sentenced late last week to 18 months in prison and 80 hours community service for breaking into a private residence without a search warrant, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta. His sentence for a civil rights violation came after he spent 11 months cooperating in an FBI probe into police misconduct.

“For those who still don’t get it, today’s sentence should send a message that police officers are sworn not just to enforce the law but, like all citizens, to obey it,” U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias of Atlanta said in a prepared statement.

Authorities say that Stalling, who is in his mid-40s, and the narcotics crew he supervised, was involved in a pattern of illegal activity, which came to light after the FBI began investigating the 2006 shooting of the 92-year-old Atlanta woman.

According to media accounts and the U.S. Attorney’s office,  some officers Stalling worked with got a bad tip about cocaine being stored in the home of Kathryn Johnston,92. Using a “no-knock” warrant, they tried breaking into the home. Johnston, using an old revolver, fired a shot through the door and officers returned fire with 39 shots, killing her.

Stalling was not involved in that botched raid. But one of his crew members Gregg Junnier, who supervised the raid, got 6-year prison term for his role and agreed to cooperate with the FBI probe into police misconduct.

Junnier’s cooperation in the probe, authorities say, eventually uncovered Stalling’s misconduct involving an illegal raid in October 2005, a year before the fatal shooting of the 92-year-old woman.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Stallings and his narcotics team executed a search warrant at an apartment in the 1000 block of Dill Avenue in Atlanta, but found no drugs inside, only some marijuana in bushes out back.

Under Stalling’s supervision, the narcotics officers illegally broke into the adjoining apartment without a warrant, but still found no evidence.

Stalling then tried covering up the illegal search by ordering his team to leave the second apartment. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, he said something to the effect: “Just shut the door. They’ll just think it was a break in.”

Authorities say Stalling was involved in other illegal activities that included falsely identifying sources as “confidential and reliable” to obtain search warrants, padding payment vouchers to informants and giving the extra money to officers.

According to a court filing by his attorney, Stalling served in the United States Army for three years shortly thereafter enlisting in the Army National Guard.  He worked there for one year and received an honorable discharge in May 1985, after being hired a Police Officer Recruit by the City of Atlanta. He had a 23-year career with the Atlanta Police Department.

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