State doles out severe sentence for threatening speech while cops kill people with ketamine

From 2018-2020, over 900 Colorado residents were injected with the drug ketamine while in police custody, giving Colorado the grim distinction of administering the highest number of such injections out of any state in the U.S., with over 17% resulting in serious and even deadly complications. Hunter Barr, age 26, is one of the recent victims who died after police detained him and injected him with ketamine, a powerful dissociative anesthetic.

In this week’s PAR, Taya Graham and Stephen Janis investigate Barr’s death and the troubling expansion of law enforcement’s use of tactical pharmacology. Graham and Janis also counterpose the unjust killing of Barr, for which none of the perpetrators have been held accountable, with the harsh punishment of Eric Brandt, a veteran, anti-police brutality protester, and member of Occupy Denver, who has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for “retaliation” against a judge using graphic verbal threats.

Taya Graham

Host & Producer
Taya Graham is an award-winning investigative reporter who has covered U.S. politics, local government, and the criminal justice system. She is the host of TRNN's "Police Accountability Report," and producer and co-creator of the award-winning podcast "Truth and Reconciliation" on Baltimore's NPR affiliate WYPR. She has written extensively for a variety of publications including the Afro American Newspaper, the oldest black-owned publication in the country, and was a frequent contributor to Morgan State Radio at a historic HBCU. She has also produced two documentaries, including the feature-length film "The Friendliest Town." Although her reporting focuses on the criminal justice system and government accountability, she has provided on the ground coverage of presidential primaries and elections as well as local and state campaigns.

Stephen Janis

Host & Producer
Stephen Janis is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work has been acclaimed both in print and on television. As the Senior Investigative Reporter for the now defunct Baltimore Examiner, he won two Maryland DC Delaware Press Association Awards for his work on the number of unsolved murders in Baltimore and the killings of prostitutes. His in-depth work on the city's zero-tolerance policing policies garnered an NAACP President's Award. As an Investigative Producer for WBFF/Fox 45, he has won three successive Capital Emmys: two for Best Investigative Series and one for Outstanding Historical/Cultural Piece.

He is the author of three books on the philosophy of policing: Why Do We Kill? The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore; You Can't Stop Murder: Truths About Policing in Baltimore and Beyond; and The Book of Cop: A Testament to Policing That Works. He has also written two novels, This Dream Called Death and Orange: The Diary of an Urban Surrealist. He teaches journalism at Towson University.