October 12, 1995: At around 3 am, college student Stephen Shively woke up to the sound of police battering down the door to his apartment in Topeka, Kansas. He quickly called 911, and told the operator he he was being burglarized.
As the battering continued, cracks appeared in the paneling around the door frame. Shively retrieved a gun, and fired at the figures he saw through one of the openings. His bullet hit Officer Tony Patterson, killing him.
Despite Shively’s 911 call — which would seem to suggest he didn’t know the intruders were police — the local prosecutor threw a capital murder charge at Shively, alleging he intentionally killed Patterson to protect the 12 ounces of marijuana that the police found in Shively’s apartment.
At trial, the jury passed on the capital murder charge, but did convict Shively of aggravated assault, along with drug charges for the marijuana. The trial judge sentenced him to three-and-a-half years in prison, explaining that he didn’t fit the description of “a drug lord with horns and fangs.” In 1998, another state judge released Shively eight months early.
The following year, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled that the search warrant authorizing the raid on Shively’s apartment was illegal. From the opinion: “Regrettably, the loss of an officer’s life might have been prevented if the affidavit had been candid and not designed to mislead the magistrate into issuing the search warrant.”
The six police officers who took part in the raid were awarded the Topeka Police Department’s Medal of Merit.