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201 After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture , sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or thee x p o r t a t i o n thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 18th Amendment, U. S. Constitution (1919) Anxious to activate the Constitutional amendment before its scheduled January, 1920 date, Congress passed the Volstead, or National Prohibition, Act on October 28, 1919, prohibiting the sale of intoxicating beverages over the 0.5 percent of alcohol level, and “regulat[ing] the manufacture, production, use and sale of high-proof spirits,” while at the same time “insur[ing] an ample supply of alcohol and promotion of its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye, and other lawful industries.”1 Congress applied a generous outlay of funds to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Internal Revenue for the enforcement of the Volstead Act, thus bringing up the question of who would actually be in charge—would Justice or the Treasury be the lead enCHAPTER 15 Chief of Police Chapter Fifteen 202 ★ forcement agency in the prohibition fight? Assistant Attorney General Guy D. Goff addressed the question: “The duty of enforcing the National Prohibition Act has been placed jointly upon the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Attorney General, and a much larger appropriation for its enforcement granted to the Treasury Department. The policy of the Justice Department is to assist and cooperate with the Prohibition unit [while] not neglecting its [normal ] duties.” In practice, the division of responsibility meant that Prohibition agents conducted the investigations, and marshals made the arrests.2 John Rogers had been a “dry” for all of his adult life, not to mention his dedication against drunkenness and alcohol-related crimes during a four-decade career, and was more than pleased to have the full brunt of federal law to support his personal conviction of the evils of alcohol. In the Western District files for 1920 and 1921, Rogers’ name appears as signator for dozens of arrests under the Volstead Act, most of those carried out by Deputies Fred Peck and A. V. Knight. In addition, Rogers’ longtime friend Frank Hamer became a Prohibition agent in 1920, stationed in Austin, and the two worked on several cases together. One of those cases ended in a dramatic car chase through the Austin streets as recounted at trial by Hamer’s partner James C. White. When an informant reported an automobile waiting for a liquor delivery on East Sixth Street, Hamer, City Police Sergeant R. E. Nitschke, and City Detective A. L. Bugg responded. They arrived at the 1300 block of Sixth just before 11:00 P.M. and parked their car. “After waiting about thirty minutes,” the report continues, “a Ford car driven by Tom Hamby accompanied by [co-defendant] Leon Koch came out of Sixth Street going east and as it passed the waiting automobile they sounded the horn twice, and stopped near the corner. “I got out of my car,” states White, “walked up to Hamby and Koch and told them to consider themselves under arrest. I saw Hamby with a bottle of Tequila in his hand. Hamby immediately started the engine and started south on the side street. I jumped on the running board of his car and tried to throw the switch to stop the car, again telling Hamby he was under arrest. Chief of Police 203 ★ “Koch jumped from the moving car, throwing a quart of Tequila as he jumped into the street, which struck Officer Bugg below the knee, probably preventing the bottle from breaking. Hamby struck at me trying to knock me off the running board of the running car; at the same time I covered him with my gun telling him to stop. He immediately grabbed a quart of Tequila and attempted to strike me over the head with it, whereupon I struck Hamby a blow over the head with my pistol”—Captain Rogers would’ve been proud—“and with the other hand guided the car into the curb. As the car stopped I reached inside the car and picked up two quarts of Tequila. Hamby and Koch were placed under arrest, taken to the City Jail and held.”3 Stuck behind a desk as U. S. Marshal, John Rogers...


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