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Articles by Jayson Hawkins

Fed Position on Pot Pushing Vets to Black Market

by Jayson Hawkins 

The walls in Alex’s home are decorated with medals earned from two tours as a Marine serving in Iraq. He returned to the U.S. in 2007 at age 21, psychologically scarred by a war that left him suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and crippling anxiety. Veterans Affairs (“VA”) doctors offered him anti-anxiety drugs, but Alex refused after having watched so many fellow vets become addicted to the legal medications. He turned instead to alcohol, numbing the pain with a bottle of vodka a day until developing a possibly lethal pancreas inflammation. Over the next year, Alex managed to quit using alcohol and cope with his emotional issues by smoking marijuana, which has legal status in his home state of California.

For Alex and other vets like him, pot allows them to function despite the traumas they have experienced. Clinical studies have affirmed the benefits of marijuana and cannabidiol, a nonintoxicating extract from cannabis plants, in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, and recent trials have supported the use of pot to ease PTSD symptoms. Laws in 33 states and counting have recognized such findings and have legalized either medicinal or recreational marijuana use, ...

Is the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Ready to Investigate Arbery Cover-Up?

by Jayson Hawkins

The murder of Ahmaud Arbery was shockingly mishandled by local police from the very beginning. Two White men chased down and shot a young Black man, and yet they had not been charged two months later, despite the fact that the whole event was caught on tape. Not surprisingly, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (“GBI”) took over the case, most onlookers saw it as a step in the right direction. The history of the GBI, however, does not inspire confidence, especially when the case involves delivering justice for a Black man. 

Nearly 600 Black people were killed in lynchings in Georgia between 1877 and 1950, and multiple observers have chronicled the insidious presence of the Ku Klux Klan at every level of Georgia law enforcement in those years, as well as the lasting impact of that presence in the often toxic relationship between Georgia police and the Black community. The GBI is not free from this taint. Founded in 1937, one of the earliest directors of the GBI was Sam Roper, a local Klan leader who later became its Imperial Wizard. Even after the overt presence of the Klan was removed, the GBI has repeatedly ...

The Danger of Police Dishonesty

Recent events have shown what can happen when large sections of society lose confidence in the legitimacy of police power, and though the outrage playing out in cities across the U.S. was mostly inspired by ...

Interrogation Via Zoom: Policing in the Age of COVID

This tactic, known as the Reid technique of interviewing, is intended to raise the suspect’s anxiety level, which in turn makes him or her feel vulnerable and reliant on the mercy of the interrogator. While this seems more civilized than past methods, such as simply beating someone until they confess, the coercive nature of the Reid technique can still generate false confessions.

Advocates for criminal justice reform have been pushing for less invasive tactics, yet recent changes to the way many police departments conduct their business has been spurred by another source entirely – the coronavirus pandemic.

The tight confines of an interrogation room are no longer practical at a time when the safety of both suspects and law enforcement is at a premium. Interviews with suspects in several cities have been moved outside, such as in Clearwater, Florida, where interrogations take place at a safe social distance in the ...

SCOTUS Goes Live on Camera

For the first time in its history, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over a conference call in May 2020. Ten arguments involving 13 cases were scheduled over six days. The measure was deemed necessary for the Supreme Court to continue to function amid the pandemic, as the majority of the justices are considered especially vulnerable to the coronavirus because of age and/or underlying medical issues.

Perhaps more significant than the justices working from home was that the proceedings were broadcast live to the general public, which had never been done before. On 27 prior occasions, the Supreme Court had allowed audio recordings of arguments to be released on the day they occurred, but the only way to follow the proceedings in real time was to attend in person. The Supreme Court has always been a public institution, but the necessity of having to be in Washington, D.C., early enough to get in line for ...

Chicago’s Police Torture Reparations

The story of police torture in Chicago begins with Jon Burge. In 1972, Burge returned to his job as a detective on the South Side of Chicago after serving a tour as an interrogator in Vietnam.

The brutal techniques he had learned in Southeast Asia—electric shock, suffocation, beating the genitals with a rubber hose—were applied to hundreds of victims, almost all of whom were people of color. Burge obtained countless confessions that sent these victims to prison and even death row. For 20 years, authorities in the police, judiciary, and mayor’s office looked the other way as Burge’s hand-picked crew of officers terrorized the South Side, and Burge himself was rewarded with promotions and commendations.

This reign of terror began to come under fire in 1989 when one of the victims of Burge’s crew brought their behavior to light during a civil ...

Police Violence and the 14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment was one of several constitutional changes made in the wake of the Civil War. The necessity of guarantees outlined in the due process clause had become all too apparent in the Reconstruction South. The authors of the amendment reported to Congress that across the South orchestrated campaigns of violence and intimidation were being carried out against freed Blacks by White police officers. In the summer of 1866, for example, policemen were instrumental in leading organized attacks on Blacks that left hundreds dead. The conclusion of Congress, and the state legislatures that would ratify the amendment, was that without new constitutional guarantees, state and local governments in the South would not respect the lives or fundamental rights of Black citizens.

The amendment was duly ratified, and Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1873, which encoded the amendment in Chapter 42
§ 1983 of the U.S. ...

The Power of Filming Police

Problems With Predictive Policing

Without the luxury of pre-cognitive abilities, modern police agencies ...

U.S. Police Have History of Infiltrating Protests

by Jayson Hawkins

Despite the fact that the rights to free speech and the petitioning of the government for redress of grievances are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the American government has a long history of treating dissenters and progressive activists like criminals. Dissent was actually criminalized during World War ...

 

 

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