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Articles by Jayson Hawkins

Financial Pressure Finally Brings Police Reform

by Jayson Hawkins

Their names became litanies on streets across America: Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. Yet protests, relentless media coverage, and the promises of politicians failed to move the needle on police violence or impunity. At last, as protests has faded from the headlines, a player has come to the table with enough clout to demand cops change their ways —insurance companies.

Away from public scrutiny and the media circus that follows court settlements, every police agency (or government agency, for that matter) has a relationship with an insurer or risk pool. These insurers act much like a liability policy for a vehicle —  if the agency gets into a metaphorical wreck for which it is at fault, the insurer covers the cost of the subsequent lawsuit or settlement. Many of these insurance companies grew out of municipal risk pools formed by big cities that eventually offered coverage to smaller towns. Most of these pools were privatized in the aftermath of the Reagan-era zeal for limited government, but some are still owned and operated as government agencies.

Those insurers that are private, for-profit enterprises are managed within the same business model as any other insurance company. ...

After Years of Hard Work and Dedication, Adnan Syed Is Freed by Serendipity

by Jayson Hawkins

There are thousands of people incarcerated in America who are factually innocent. Until September of 2022, Adnan Syed was one of them. And, while we celebrate his freedom after it was wrongfully denied him for over 20 years, the fact that so many innocents remain behind bars ...

Time to Find the Key

by Jayson Hawkins

“Lock’em up and throw away the key” has long been the rallying cry of the tough-on-crime crowd. While this approach may have an intuitive appeal to a public frightened by stories about crime in the media, a series of recent studies has challenged the rationale of long ...

Accused War Criminals Training Cops: What Could Go Wrong?

by Jayson Hawkins

Cops have a dangerous job, and even though making a living as a logger or ironworker can be far deadlier, the nature of policing dictates an above average risk of dying on the job. The controversy arises when law enforcement agencies apply questionable strategies to keep their ...

Investigation Delays Let Cops Kill Again

by Jayson Hawkins

Outrage at police killings of unarmed Black men ebbs and flows with the rhythm of short news cycles and shorter attention spans, but each new tragedy that ignites protests and calls for reform seems to push the needle toward more accountability and better policing. At least that’s ...

California Town Pushes Homeless Into the Desert

by Jayson Hawkins

Since the first cities arose millennia ago, homelessness has been a part of the urban landscape. A wide array of solutions has been attempted, some more humane than others, but no technique has a proven track record of long-term success. Homelessness in California has bubbled up to ...

Houston Cop from Fatal Raid Lied in Other Cases

by Jayson Hawkins

In October 2016, Frederick Jeffery was arrested for possession of two-and-a-half grams of methamphetamine, which he repeatedly stated did not belong to him. As a person with prior convictions, he knew it was a huge risk to go to trial, but he stood by his claims of ...

FBI Heist Made Public

by Jayson Hawkins

In another recent episode of “Law Enforcement Gone Wild,” unredacted documents reveal the FBI intentionally lied to a federal judge to obtain a search warrant authorizing agents to inventory hundreds of safe deposit boxes administered by a private security firm. Although the firm, U.S. Private Vaults, had ...

Police Digitally Frame Activists in India, but It Can Happen Anywhere

by Jayson Hawkins

Modern society puts tremendous value on innovations that make our jobs easier, and computers have certainly aided in that pursuit. Cops in India, however, have taken the idea of using computers to minimize effort to a new extreme by planting evidence on people’s computers and then arresting ...

Los Angeles: Police Union Resists Changes to Pretextual Stops

by Jayson Hawkins

In March 2022, the Los Angeles Police Commission, an oversight board of the LAPD, implemented minor policy changes to the way the department conducts pretextual stops. According to the Los Angeles Times, officers “can no longer use minor violations as an excuse to investigate motorists, bicyclists ...



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