The question is how we react to this great prejudice against women. The rule of law and social activism certainly are crucial. But no matter how...”
Ginsburg’s dissent sums up the current state of the law: after twenty-seven years of Drug War jurisprudence since Leon, it is now constitutionally permissible in some circumstances for police to both search and seize you, without an independent source of probable cause or an actual warrant. And despite these constitutional infirmities, all evidence of criminal activity will still be admitted against you in a court of law, even if the police admit they violated your Fourth Amendment rights.
Yesterday at CPAC, the conservative convention held this week in Washington D.C., Republic Report ran into retired police officer and anti-drug war activist Howard Wooldridge. We were interested in his take on the role of money in politics in the government’s crusade against marijuana. He explained that cynical lobbyists, who place their clients interests over America, have perpetuated the cycle of over-criminalization. In particular, pharmaceutical companies and the alcohol lobby have fought behind closed doors to keep marijuana illegal. Both industries, he said, fear competition. Also police officiers and prison guard unions, seeking “free federal money” from the government, have similarly supported draconian drug war policies:
WOOLDRIDGE: The beer wholesale industry donated five figure money to defeat Prop 19 because marijuana and alcohol compete right today as a product to take the edge off the day at six o’clock. Just because marijuana is illegal, doesn’t negate the fact that there’s still competition. The beer companies don’t want it, same thing with big PhRMA. My biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is law enforcement. ‘We love the money you give us to chase Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and all the rest’ — with helicopters, and especially free federal money. The second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA because everyone knows God didn’t make no junk. Marijuana’s an excellent medicine for many things, taking the place of everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills […] Private prisons fight me because they want more people in jail. Is it good policy? These lobbyists don’t care.
Hinds was in the hospital, still unconscious. When she awoke, days later, a doctor told her about Freeman. His burial order lists the time of his death as “between 23 and 25 May 2010” and the cause as “multi gunshot wounds.” He was shot ten or more times, according to a Jamaican doctor familiar with the postmortem.
No fewer than seventy-four people were killed in the operation to arrest Christopher Coke and extradite him to the United States—one soldier and seventy-three civilians. Among the dead were at least three women and one United States citizen. Three more residents of Tivoli Gardens, including a sixteen-year-old boy, are missing and presumed dead. The Jamaican security forces say that many of the dead were armed gunmen allied with Coke, but they recovered only six guns during the assault. According to extensive interviews with Tivoli Gardens residents and Jamaican officials, the resistance that the security forces encountered in Tivoli was quickly overpowered. Coke and most of the gunmen are believed to have fled when the raid began, escaping through a network of gullies and sewers. The rest of the battle was not a firefight so much as a police operation. The security forces rounded up residents and conducted searches from house to house. Unarmed men of fighting age were interrogated on the spot, and more than a thousand were sent to detention centers, from which they were released a few days later. Mickey Freeman was one of dozens allegedly shot to death in custody.
A year and a half later, the Jamaican government has refused to make public what it knows about how the men and women of Tivoli Gardens died. So has the government of the United States, despite clear evidence that the U.S. surveillance plane flying above Kingston on May 24th was taking live video of Tivoli, that intelligence from the video feed was passed through U.S. law-enforcement officers to Jamaican forces on the ground, and that the Department of Homeland Security has a copy of this video.