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by Peter Moskos

October 1, 2009

He gave “all the money he had on him” - $23

An anonymous reader sent me this link by Rob Moore and Donald Fraser of the Franklin County Citizen & The News Leader. Thanks. It's an update on the shooting of Jonathan Ayers.
The woman who was in the Rev. Jonathan Ayers' car moments before he was shot by undercover drug agents in Toccoa on Sept. 1 is refuting reports that Ayers was involved in illegal activities.

“I'm an addict,” 26-year-old Kayla Barrett admitted Tuesday, saying that Ayers was ministering to her on the day of his death.
She said that, over time, Ayers had been lecturing her and trying to get her to straighten out her life and to get off drugs.
“He told me I was too young to be living like I was living,” she said. “He didn't want me to waste my life.”
Barrett said Ayers offered her a ride back to the motel.
Barrett said she asked Ayers if he could help her out with the back rent, and that he gave “all the money he had on him” - $23.

“His last words to me were I didn't owe him anything,” Barrett said. “Probably 15-20 minutes after that I could hear the shots.”

Responding to allegations she has heard, she said, “No, we did not have sex.”
“He [Ayers] doesn't have any part in any kind of drug activity,” Barrett insisted. “He's never solicited me for prostitution.”
Barrett, who is charged with two counts of sale of cocaine, doesn't deny that she sold drugs to an undercover agent.


Anonymous said...


There is an article in The New Yorker on gangs in the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. You need a subscription to access the article online, however there is narrated slideshow available for free.

The gangs totally control the favelas, including their own justice system.

I haven't read it, but you might want to check it out.

From Canada

Anonymous said...

I am glad they are not relesing the names of the police officers. That way there cannot be any frivolous lawsuits against them after GBI clears them.

They had every right to stop him at gunpoint because he talked to a drug dealer and that automatically means that reasonable suspicion exists and that the officers are afraid for thir safety. The Terry case says that. Also, only a police officer can say whether there was reasonable suspicion or not because only the police have the training and experience needed to determine reasonableness. I don't know of any police officer who would say there is not reasonable suspicion any time a civilian talks to a drug dealer. By talking to the drug deler, it means that you are interacting ith a drug dealer and that will make any police officer suspicious that you are committing a crime, like buying drugs. It doesn't men you have bought drugs. It just means that the polic officer gets to use the plain feel doctrine on you to see if you are carrying anything that might be drugs. Civilians need to comply with these rules because they are in the Constitution to keep us safe. If you don't like it: change the Constitution or move to Afghanistan!

Jonthan Ayers' mistake was in resisting th police who were just doing their jobs!

PCM said...

Legally, Anonymous, you could be right, but you're not.

Morally, I find your position horrible. For many reasons. He didn't know they were police! Had the been officers in uniform, this would have would never happened.

Legally you are close, but wrong. You can find drugs using plain feel during a Terry Frisk, but you cannot use the plain feel doctrine to find drugs. Get the difference?

In saying you "get to use the plain feel doctrine to find drugs" you show your intention is not to find weapons, and thus the frisk would be illegal unconstitutional. Police officers may NOT frisk a person to see if somebody is carrying drugs. You can only frisk for weapons. Only. Period.

If you're searching for drugs, you need probable cause. And "plain feel has nothing to do with a legal search.

Assuming you're a police officer, I urge to use the constitution correctly. You have, after all, sworn your oath to defend it.

And then there are further limitations in some states. In New York, a suspect cannot be charged with drugs found during a Terry Frisk (People v Diaz).

In Massachusetts: "the state's highest court ordered police...to stop pat-frisking suspected drug dealers for weapons unless they have specific information the person is armed or has a history of violence."

Anonymous said...

Those are good points as far as articulation goes.

If you are looking for drugs based on probable cause then you don't need plain feel -- you just do strip search. Plain feel only comes into play if you articulate that there might be some small weapons there but you feel an objct that might be drugs instead.

When relying on plain feel, an officer should always say that she or he thought there could be weapons. Those are defo the magic words and I never meant to imply otherwise. To put it another way, if someone intracts with a drugdealer, then of course they might have a gun -- anyone with training and experience knows that people who talk to drugdealers might have a gun. The frisk is automatic and should be quite thorough because some guns or knives are quite small.

Just like when you are articulating why you did the stop, then you always say that you think the perp might have bought narcotics when they interacted with a drug dealer in anyway. That is one reason that it is good not to arrest drugdealers right when they sell an undercover some drugs, but, rather to wait -- it gives the police reasonable suspicion against all kinds of people for days or even weeks after the illicit sale. The drug dealer becomes a roving search warrant of sorts. It is a powerful technique to catch bad guys.

DJK said...

To catch bad guys? are drug addicts bad guys?

how bout this one...


I'm definitely interested to know how you feel about this one, PM.

# Gonzolez was never charged with any crime in relation to the money, much less convicted.
# Gonzolez has an explanation for the money that a lower court found both “plausible” and “consistent.” He brought several witnesses forward to corroborate his story (in the preposterous land of asset forfeiture, property can be guilty of a crime, and the burden is often on the person the police seized the property from to prove he obtained it legally).
# The government offered no evidence to counter Gonzolez’s explanation.

Instead, the court ruled that the mere fact that Gonzolez was carrying a large sum of money, that he had difficulty understanding the officer’s questions, that he incorrectly answered some of those questions (due, Gonzolez says, to fears that if police knew he was carrying that much money, they might confiscate it — imagine that!), and that a drug dog alerted to the car Gonzolez was driving (which, as dissenting judge Donald Lay noted, was a rental, likely driven by dozens of people before Gonzolez), was enough to “convict” the money of having drug ties, even if there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Gonzolez.The court ruled that despite the fact that Gonzolez’s witnesses were credible enough to, in person, convince a lower court he was telling the truth, on appeal, it, the appellate court, reading those witnesses’ testimony on paper, simply didn’t believe them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Those are good points as far as articulation goes."

Which is to say, that sounds nice, but "on the street" we don't care much for court precedents or the constitution. We got to get things done so we can up the stats and bring in some of that sweet asset forfeiture cash! Like GW said, "the constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper!"

"When relying on plain feel, an officer should always say that she or he thought there could be weapons."

Ah,yes. The "I feared for my life" bit. You can use that to justify almost any intrusion. It's a catch-all, sort of like a D.C. charge.

"The drug dealer becomes a roving search warrant of sorts. It is a powerful technique to catch bad guys"

And that's what it's all about, civil liberties be damned. As long as you get your picture taken in front of stacks of dope and cash, who cares if you ruin a few lives along the way. Got to break a few eggs to make an omelet, right anonymous.

Dave H.- IL

PCM said...


My thoughts are the guy was probably a drug dealer.

That being said, I think it's horrible the government can take money based on the "preponderance of the evidence."

The harms to our freedom from asset forfeiture are far greater than the risks to our safety from that money getting through (to legitimate or illegitimate dealings).

Anonymous said...

Oh, it’s pretty rich. First, they still haven't released the names of the shooters.

This week, the DA told the family:

1. I helped set up the task force that the idiots served on.

2. So you may want to have somebody else bring the case before the grand jury.

3. But, if you do pick somebody else:

a. I have myself handpicked which two alternate DAs would get the case from me;

b. considerable delay will be added (which I will blame you, the family, for); and

c. I am going to bring these two alternate DAs to the grand jury, regardless of your decision about whether you choose to keep letting me "prosecute" my buddies in order to "help answer legal questions that the grand jury may have." (which is probably intended as a coded signal that the alternate DAs are even worse than the one who works hand in glove with the shooters).

Real sick stuff, and, frankly, the police are a lot to blame.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and the update from a couple weeks ago is this:

The drug addicted prostitute said that she did not sell Ayers drugs or sex, and that he was indeed trying to persuade her to give up drugs and prostitution as he had in the past and that she got a ride from him because he saw her walking down the street in discomfort due to some female problems (recent miscarriage, if I remember correctly).

Anonymous said...

Oooops, they do it again:


Anonymous said...

And still another georgia policeman is struck by a fleeing vehicle:


No word on whether the unnamed deputy was wearing a uniform, or whether he had a marked patrol vehicle.