Follow That Story: Justice Department to Investigate Tulia, Civil Rights Complaint Filed 11/3/00

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DRCNet reported on the Tulia travesty on October 2nd. That story is online at

After receiving official complaints filed by the Amarillo NAACP, the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into whether Swisher County authorities violated the civil rights of African-Americans in a drug bust that rounded up 40 black people in the small, predominantly white Texas Panhandle farming town last year.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kara Peterman confirmed that the department's civil rights division has opened a criminal investigation of the case.

Federal law prohibits police officers from depriving citizens of their constitutional rights.

"It would be easy to look at what happened in Swisher County and throw up one's hands and believe there is no justice," attorney Jeff Blackburn told the Amarillo Globe-News.

Blackburn helped draw up the complaint.

"I think this is a good way to show there still is justice in this country."

That remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Blackburn is working with the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice in organizing a fundraising appeal for Tulia victims and their families. Persons who wish to help out may send their donations to: The Tulia 46 Fund, c/o Blackburn Law Firm, 718 16th Ave., Amarillo, TX 79102.

Visit the Kunstler Fund's web site at for pictures of the Journey for Justice's visit to Tulia.

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Issue #158, 11/3/00 Initiative Endorsements: YES on 3, 5, 8, 9, 20, 36, B, G | Drug Policy in the 2000 Elections: The Dog That Didn't Bark and Races of Note | Reformers' Dilemma: Frick, Frack, or a Prophet from the Wilderness? | Cannabis, Free Speech Issues Converge in Florida, Massachusetts | Follow That Story: Justice Department to Investigate Tulia, Civil Rights Complaint Filed | Hawaii Inches Forward on Medical Marijuana, Rejects DEA Eradication Funds | Municipal Drug Testing On the Way Out in Washington State | Maryland/DC Reports Illustrate Failure and Harm of Drug Prohibition | The Reformer's Calendar | Editorial: Different Ideals, Same Conclusions
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