08/28/19 Roger Goodman

Washington State Representative Roger Goodman re no arrests for possession, Houston DA KIm OGG with Indictiment of narcs for Felony Murder, Attorneys sing: Hemp Or Weed

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Guest: 
Roger Goodman
Organization: 
Washington State Legislature
Download: Audio icon FDBCB082819.mp3
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TRANSCRIPT

CULTURAL BAGGAGE

AUGUST 28, 2019

DEAN BECKER: Hello friends, I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High, and this is Cultural Baggage. Great show for you – let’s get going.

DEAN BECKER: Folks, it’s been too long since we had our guest on the program. He’s an old friend, a man that I respect and admire and I have tried to listen to over the years – hell, the decades now. I met him when he was a citizen, a good attorney. I think he got in to politics because he wanted to do more than just keep people out of the jail. He wanted to keep all of us out of jail I think, in the long run. With that I want to welcome a member of the Washington House of Representatives, my friend, Roger Goodman. Hello, sir.

ROGER GOODMAN: Hi Dean, it’s good to be back with you.

DEAN BECKER: Roger, good things are happening. Would you agree with that thought, sir?

ROGER GOODMAN: We are definitely moving forward you know, there’s a cultural shift and we’re certainly beyond the tipping point nationally on the need to end marijuana prohibition but we got a lot more work to do just to end prohibition in general. A lot more policies that literally improve public safety and regard people’s personal liberties better, so we do have a lot more work to do but we’ve made a lot of progress.

DEAN BECKER: Now when I first called you to set up this interview I talked about let’s talk about a tale of two cities and that I think there is much to be learned in doing a comparison between your city of Seattle, and mine of Houston, here in Texas. You guys have been awake. You guys have been making change and have your feet to the ground gaining traction and I think down here folks are beginning to recognize that there is a better way. Just today, the New York Times came out with a major story talking about what you guys are doing there in Washington State and Seattle. They said from the Times, in effect, Seattle is decriminalizing the use of hard drugs. It is relying less on the criminal justice toolbox to deal with hard drugs and more on the public health toolbox. Is that a good summation there, Roger?

ROGER GOODMAN: It is – so two angles on that, the first is that just from my libertarian point of view – I call myself a Libertarian Democrat – that we need to leave people alone if they are doing nothing other than introducing something into their own bodies, if they are potentially harming somebody else or contributing to public disorder well that’s different, then we might need to intervene. I am the Chair of the Public Safety Committee in the House of Representatives, and I am going to be entertaining legislation that will decriminalize the possession of personal amounts of all substances so that if law enforcement intervenes, it will not be a criminal matter – it would be civil matter and they would refer to health officials or therapists or whatever. I am not sure if folks know about the Portugal model, but this has been going on for almost two decades and the health intervention has worked in Portugal, with addiction rates going down and crime going down, it just seems to make sense. So if people need help, we’ll get them help. If people need to be left alone, we’ll leave them alone. That is the first thought.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah.

ROGER GOODMAN: The second is that – again, as I have said before, prohibition doesn’t work. We really need to look at the legal structure overall of all of the substances. Marijuana is the most commonly used and yet, take a look at the violent crime that results from the markets – the illegal markets that result from prohibiting the other substances, so we have to work on that as well.

DEAN BECKER: Roger, I need to clarify this situation. Every Wednesday I do my show broadcast these days here in Houston and before that I go to the court houses downtown and I hand out these little post cards that – one side says, ‘Conscientious Objections to the Drug War’, and the other side facetiously says, ‘Join the cartels and make your fortune’. I get a great reception – I am talking to judges and jurors, prosecutors and defense attorneys, people on probation, people that are indicted. Just the population coming in and out of these courthouses, and I get a lot of responses of “you know, you are absolutely right”. My shirt says, “Legalize Heroin to Save Lives”, or “Prohibition is Evil”, those kinds of things.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: The response I get – even occasionally a cop will stop and tell me that because he’s retiring in six months – “you know, you are right on the money”. The end it by saying you know it will never change.

ROGER GOODMAN: (LAUGHTER)

DEAN BECKER: That’s what I want to talk about. By God, it can change, can’t it?

ROGER GOODMAN: Well it can, and the first thing is that we have to be willing to talk about it. Before we change policy we have to sit down, open minds, respectful, deliberate, inclusive conversations and just listen to people but be willing to talk about it and in Seattle over two decades ago now we began to convene groups – professional groups and civic groups and religious groups, sitting down together to talk about the war on drugs was just corroding our legal system, impeding medical practice, violating civil rights. I mean it’s just all bad. As you have said for years, there’s no policy worse than the War on Drugs, other than slavery.

DEAN BECKER: Yep.

ROGER GOODMAN: So the first willingness we need is the willingness to sit down and talk about it and once we do then people realize, we’re all human beings as long as we’re respectful of one another and we have that deliberate conversation then we can really make progress. We are not going to change things right away but in Seattle, we ended up really reforming our public health and drug policies so we’re saving money, we’re saving lives, we’re reducing crime, we’re improving public order and the sky has not fallen by any means. As a matter of fact, just looking at marijuana – youth use of marijuana is significantly down since we legalized. Deaths on the roadways are significantly down because people are not drinking as much bad beer, they’re switching over to smoking pot instead, so they’re just not driving.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah.

ROGER GOODMAN: We are bringing in a half a billion dollars of revenue – tax revenue, from the sale of the legally regulated product to fund healthcare for the poor. So is that all bad? I think we’re doing pretty well up here.

DEAN BECKER: And that’s why I called on you, my friend. I was lucky last year, I was invited to go to Lisbon to speak to the administrators of the European Monitoring Center on Drug’s and Drug Abuse – that has been kind of the highlight of my quote career as of this point. Well received – the women gave me hugs and kisses, I sat for an hour afterwards with the police commissioner and the police chief of Lisbon, and we laughed and laughed at US drug policy. I don’t know how else to say this, we are clinging to superstition, propaganda, needless hysteria are we not?

ROGER GOODMAN: Yes we are but unfortunately I have to bring up the link to racism and otherism.

DEAN BECKER: Yes, sir.

ROGER GOODMAN: The War on Drugs has its roots and are discriminating against the Chinese immigrants to help build our railroads out west and once they finished doing that well then we didn’t want them anymore, so we passed the opium laws as a way to target them and get them either incarcerated or kicked out and then it was the so-called cocaine crazed negro in the early 1900’s and then it was the Mexicans bringing marijuana across the border and they were raping our women and stealing our jobs. Unfortunately this sounds all too familiar today.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah.

ROGER GOODMAN: What is interesting is that the opioid crisis nationally has affected middle class white folks and we don’t want to be locking them up in prison, right? So the shift in our view of drug problems has happened because middle class white people have been affected by it and so now all of the sudden, it’s a public health problem in everyone’s minds as it should have been a long time ago but that really indicated the racist aspect of the War on Drugs and we have to get beyond that.

DEAN BECKER: Right. Rears its ugly head everywhere you look, it certainly does. Let me kind of shift here for a second, I want to talk about politicians. They had a big marijuana day at Austin Statehouse earlier this year. I went there, I wore my “Legalize Heroin to Save Lives” shirt because it’s not about marijuana – it’s about prohibition, it’s about respect and dignity and I don’t know, reality itself. Every office I went to – 73 offices, I knocked on the door went in and mostly talked to staffers – every one of them knew exactly what I was talking about. There is no hidden information. It is out there, it is known. These politicians – the few I have got to speak with over the years – about six of them, behind closed doors they don’t argue with me. They know the truth of this matter but they’re chicken.

ROGER GOODMAN: (LAUGHTER)

DEAN BECKER: I don’t know how else to say it.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yep.

DEAN BECKER: Go ahead.

ROGER GOODMAN: I have to say – okay, so I am a politician and I have been in office for 14 years now. 14 years ago the idea of ending marijuana prohibition was let’s say a pipe dream. I hate to use that pun –

DEAN BECKER: (LAUGHTER)

ROGER GOODMAN: -By the way if you say will prohibition ever end and people say oh never! But then you say what about 2020? And they’re like, well, yeah – maybe by then. So sort of establish a set date then it becomes more concrete to people. Anyway, long ago when I ran, I ran on issues that people care about – our public schools, traffic problems and health care. You know, the normal issues that politicians deal with but I also was very outspoken about the need to end prohibition. The other side thought, well this guy couldn’t possibly win. He wants to legalize drugs but when the voters and the people found out my popularity increased and I won by a significant margin. The people are ahead of the politicians, so the politicians are reactive they’re not going to take a step forward unless they hear from the people and the people are – they certainly did vocalize and it’s happened. There’s support for ending marijuana prohibition, but alright, now you talk about heroin – there’s not a huge population out there that enjoys recreational heroin. There is a population out there but it’s very small and so you don’t have that public outcry, that grassroots movement and so the politicians are reactive. They’re not gonna step up. Yeah, they’ll agree with you in their offices but they’re not going to step out and take a political risk. They have – they respond to the people. That’s just the way our democratic system works. It in fact ought to work that way. We should respond to what the people want. People like you and others around the country who have brought about grass roots movements, that’s the source of the cultural change and the political change.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, we are speaking with Mr. Roger Goodman, he has 14 years of experience as a Representative for the State of Washington.

Now you mentioned heroin and I had the privilege last year of going to Berne to meet Dr. Christoph Buerki, the designer of their heroin injection program. I got to tour their facilities, I got to meet with some of the staff and walked me through the process – how it worked there. Every morning the users come to the place, they get their injection then they go to work, they go to school, they tend to their children. Then they come back in the evening they get another injection and it costs basically nothing. It costs the government very little to maintain this – that as I understand it, over the decades they’ve been doing this 27 million Swiss citizens have injected pure heroin with zero overdose deaths.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: So it is the paranoia – it is the fear of these drugs that is more deadly than the drugs themselves, am I right there, Roger Goodman?

ROGER GOODMAN: Absolutely. We have research clearly showing that these public health interventions are effective and yet, the rhetoric – and I have to say, up here in Washington State, we’re pretty liberal or progressive – but we have those voices as well, that so oh, this is just going to encourage drug use and the streets are gonna be unsafe again, and how dare we provide a place for people to do this awful activity. So even though there is clear research we hear that fear arising again. You and I know – but maybe some of your listeners don’t know that heroin didn’t come out of nowhere. It was synthesized by the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company more than 100 years ago.

DEAN BECKER: Yep.

ROGER GOODMAN: They synthesize aspirin from the willow tree and opium from the opium poppy. It was the wonder drug. What I believe we need to do is bring heroin back into the pharmacopeia, it’s the best cough suppressant there is and its actually already done in a number of countries; in Turkey, Iran, and India, the opium farmers are licensed. They grow it and they sell the opium – the opiates into the medical market. In Afghanistan, well they’re not licensed. It’s a complete illegal market and that’s where the worlds heroin comes from so all we have to do is assert regulatory control just like we have over marijuana in many states, get rid of the illegal markets – it just a very rational process and then we can end this terrible drug war. But again, the voices of fear continue to rise so it’s an ongoing struggle.

DEAN BECKER: Roger, I am lucky – privileged in my city/county that I have made friends, allies if you will of the police chief, the sheriff and the district attorney that they have come on my show. Most recently Kim Ogg the DA came on my show and talked about the drug wars’ off-track. That we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face that it’s illogical, that it’s just not working out. Sounding a whole lot like a Law Enforcement Against Prohibition speaker--

ROGER GOODMAN: Yep.

DEAN BECKER: --Unafraid to say so in this city that I used to open with the phrase, “Broadcasting from the Gulag Filling Station of Planet Earth”, and we now are trying to do away with the bail system, following a lot of the things you guys have done over the years and I guess what I am trying to get to is that the majority of people, even these politicians know this change is so necessary. They know the failure of what we’ve been doing for so long and I try to be the kick in the butt. I try to be the awakening somehow that it’s okay. I don’t know where I am going with this other than its just okay to speak out isn’t it?

ROGER GOODMAN: Absolutely. It’s essential to speak out and if you don’t keep banging the drum and others like you and me, frankly, I mean you’re in the grassroots – I am the grass tops then we’re not going to continue to make progress. I recently appeared publicly with my good friend, Rodney Ellis, who is our Harris County Commission, and he and I agree that we need folks like you to continue to talk about this. We have to continue to make progress. Harris County in Houston has made tremendous progress in the last – I mean really a 180 degree turn. Look what has happened, right? The work you’ve done and politicians finally summoning the courage to talk about this and take action. So we are making a lot of progress as I began I said we’re making a lot of progress but we’ve got a lot more work to be done.

DEAN BECKER: When I visited – actually interviewed Kim Ogg in her office downtown. Right before the interview she took me into the office next door to speak to former Police Chief Bradford and he and I, we’ve made progress in years before as well. First thing he said to Kim was, “this sonofabitch bugged us 20 years ago, told us how we were doing it wrong. Turns out he was right all along”.

ROGER GOODMAN: (LAUGHTER) Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: To me that’s the praise. That’s the million dollars I made right there because to know that I have been – Kim told me the day she started the misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program that I was the pioneer. The one who made that day possible.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yeah. Doesn’t that feel good that your life’s work is worth it, right?

DEAN BECKER: Right. After retiring from the oil and gas industry that this second one – it doesn’t pay worth a damn, Roger.

ROGER GOODMAN: That’s okay. The more money you make the more evil you perpetrate on the world, right?

DEAN BECKER: There you go. Well I guess it’s about time to wrap this up, but once again friends we’ve been speaking with my good friend, Mr. Roger Goodman, he’s got 14 years in office, is that right, Man?

ROGER GOODMAN: Yep and starting on my 14th year and I can’t believe it! I look in the mirror like, oh, what happened there!

DEAN BECKER: Well, October will make 18 years on the air but we’ve been friends longer than that I think.

ROGER GOODMAN: Oh, yeah. Well I mean I got elected 14 years ago, but I was a drug policy reformer before that.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Well, Roger, you guys keep it up. Show us how it’s done right. I want to just touch on one more thing. You said if you have an encounter with a drug user and you have your dissuasion committee I think is what Dr. Gulow calls it there in Portugal and if they choose to continue, well so be it, you give them good advice.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yeah. People need to hear – and very often maybe hear the message over and over again. If they are doing harm to themselves and perhaps affecting their families we don’t want to be punishing them. We want to be helping them.

DEAN BECKER: Yes.

ROGER GOODMAN: So the point is, as I said, if people need help then let’s give them help. It may take a number of times but if people need to be left alone then just leave them alone because they’re not harming anybody else, they’re not costing us and they have the freedom to do what they -- you know if I want to eat too much chocolate cake, are you going to punish me? It’s the same type of thing. Maybe I shouldn’t be eating that much chocolate cake and I love chocolate cake but I am not committing a crime and that’s the perspective we need.

DEAN BECKER: It is indeed. Again, Roger, I miss seeing you. I hope to see you at a conference somewhere soon.

ROGER GOODMAN: Yeah.

DEAN BECKER: We’re traveling in slightly different circles these days.

ROGER GOODMAN: That’s okay.

DEAN BECKER: I appreciate your thoughts and I hope the folks listening in whether it’s Houston or around the country, it applies everywhere in this nation. Is there a website you might want to share?

ROGER GOODMAN: I’ve got a whole bunch of them, I can’t hide. I am a state legislator in Washington State, so you can find Roger Goodman, but I just want to congratulate you, and Harris County and Houston for making the progress that you have and keep watching Seattle and Washington State. We’re on the cutting edge and we’re showcase for a lot of the progressive policy that really works. Let’s keep moving forward.

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DEAN BECKER: And so speaking of Houston, there was the Harding Street bust earlier this year where there was a bad warrant, a bad buy, a bad cop, a bad shootout and bullets going from the outside to the inside of the house to kill the occupants and their dog. This is the District Attorney of Harris County, Kim Ogg at a press conference last week in Houston.

KIM OGG: The day that Goins claimed a confidential informant had successfully purchased heroin from an unknown 55 year old white male. That eventually being Mr. Tuttle. Goins claims were false. He further fabricated the two days after the raid on the Harding Street residence that he “recovered” a plastic bag that contained a white napkin and two small packets of a brown powdery substance that he knew based on his skill and expertise contained heroin. Bryant claimed he recognized the drugs as the same drugs allegedly purchased by Goins C.I the day before, January 27th. That was false. In an interview subsequent to the HPD investigation, Goins later admitted, 1) There was no confidential informant who purchased drugs at 7815 Harding Street, 2) He claimed instead that he personally made the drug buy, 3) He affirmed that Steve Bryant never made any identification of the substance alleged to have been purchased at 7815 Harding, 4) Finally Goins admitted that he could not determine whether Mr. Tuttle was the same person from who he had allegedly purchased narcotics.

Officer Goins was injured, the interview as taped. He answered in writing. Because false information was provided to a magistrate in order to secure a search warrant, Goins actions violated Texas Penal Code 37.10, Tampering with a Government Record, a 2nd Degree Felony. Because the execution of the warrant resulted in forced entry into the home at 7815 Harding by armed police officers members of Goins own squad shot and killed Regina Nicholas, Dennis Tuttle and their dog. Under Texas Law, if during the commission of one felony, in this case, Tampering with a Government Record, a person commits an act clearly dangerous to human life. Execution of a no-knock warrant by an armed squad of police officers in to a private residence that causes the death of another – in this case two deaths, its 1st Degree Murder. We call that Felony Murder. Today we charged Gerald Goins with two counts of felony murder. We’ve also charged former HPD Officer Steven Bryant with one count of 2nd Degree Tampering with A Government Document. These charges are based on the fact that then HPD Officer Bryant’s false representations on his offense report, which the evidence will show intended to support Goins actions were false but because Bryant’s actions occurred after the raid and the killings, he is charged with one count of 2nd Degree Tampering. The intent of the false entry was to defraud HPD investigators, supervisors, prosecutors, and the public. This morning a judge signed arrest warrants for both defendants. Instead of executing those warrants we contacted Goins and Bryant’s attorneys and we’ve agreed with then that they have until 3 PM today to turn their clients. Both surrenders I believe are in progress. A Harris Grand Jury will shortly begin to review all of the evidence that’s been gathered in the case to determine if further charges are warranted against either Goins or Bryant, if they’re authorized against any other officers and to review extraneous claims against Goins, which have come in to our office directly from the street. Their job will be along with ours, to determine if a greater pre-existing problem existed within HPD Narcotics Squad 15. The Houston Police Department handed over their complete investigation on May 22nd, and I anticipate that our investigation will continue through the remainder of this year. Prosecutors have been and are currently going through 14,000 different cases related to these officers and I can tell you that after having talked with our leadership amongst ourselves we have not seen a case like this in Houston. I’ve not seen a case like this in my 30-plus years of practicing law.

We recognize that our community has been violated and I want to assure my fellow Houstonians and other residents of Harris County that we are getting to the truth. You’ve heard Chapter One. Each day we uncover more and with each fact we work towards doing justice.

DEAN BECKER: Sacred fornicating bovine. Lordy. Let’s end with something a little more positive. Here’s some sound advice in song form from attorneys, Hutson & Harris.

Singing: Remember, don’t say that it’s weed. Is it hemp or is it weed, is the THC over .3, you don’t know you’re not a testing facility, could be hemp unless you call it weed. Nobody knows if its pot or if its hemp. They’ve got to show the THC content. Is it pot or is it not, it the THC a little or a lot, nobody knows. You don’t have to lie when a cop says, “What’s this”? After all you’re not a freaking scientist. It might be hemp if you don’t’ call it weed. They’ve got to test it unless you concede.

DEAN BECKER: I’ll close us out with some thoughts from my youngest son, Bryan, “All drugs should be legal. Think about it. Most overdose deaths are due to no quality control. That money enriches cartels, not the state. After 100 years the same percentage of people use hard drugs – about 2%. It has stopped nothing”.

And again, I remind you because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.