Newsbrief: Texas ACLU Report Slams Task Forces, Calls for End to $200 Million Annual Boondoogle 12/20/02

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas issued a report Tuesday exposing 15 major scandals in the state's system of regional drug task forces since 1998 and a pattern of racial profiling. The report calls on Texas to end the $200 million a year, federally assisted task force program.

"After 15 years of operation, it is clear that these task forces are a failed experiment that have filled Texas prisons with nonviolent offenders -- many of them African American -- and tainted Texas law enforcement with scandal," said Will Harrell, executive director of the Texas ACLU. "When it comes to narcotics law enforcement in Texas, the cure is worse than the disease."

The report, "Too Far Off Task," details case after case where task force officers were caught stealing, dealing or transporting drugs; or were engaged in lying under oath, falsifying government documents, and even framing innocent people. The report also found evidence of widespread racial profiling and a pattern of arresting low-level offenders with tactics that encourage corruption and false charges.

That is no accident, according to Graham Boyd, director of the national ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project. To receive federal funding, he said, task forces must have good arrest numbers, and targeting minorities is an easy way for the task forces to pad their statistics. Statewide, African Americans make up just 12% of Texas' population but 70% of those sentenced to state prison on drug offenses.

"The $200 million dream of the task force has been a nightmare for the African American residents of Texas," said Boyd in a press release. "People have lost their jobs, families have been broken up and children have been virtually orphaned as a result of the massive racial profiling and corrupt practices of the task forces."

The report also found that despite the widespread perception that the task forces are "free" for Texas taxpayers, matching fund grant applications last year alone cost more than $10 million. Abolishing the task forces could save the state $199 million in the next two years, the ACLU reported, a salient fact given the state's projected $7 to $12 billion budget shortfall.

"Too Far Off Task: Why, after Tulia, Texas should re-think its Big Government approach to the Drug War, abolish narcotics task forces, and save $200 million this biennium" is available at online.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #268, 12/20/02 Special Offer Continues -- DRCNet Needs Your Help! | Editorial: Expanding the Chorus | 108 Euro-Parliamentarians Call for Legal, Regulated Drug Trade, Reform of UN Conventions | Congressional Drug Warrior Having Doubts: Dan Burton's Near Epiphany | Michigan Legislature Repeals Mandatory Minimum Drug Laws | Canadian Marijuana Activists Skeptical on Decrim | Canadian Supreme Court Postpones Marijuana Cases, Cites Parliament Report, Justice Minister Statement on Decrim | DRCNet Book Review: "Busted: Stone Cowboys, Narco-Lords, and Washington's War on Drugs" | And the Winners Are | Federal Judge Shows Keen Interest in Raich/Monson Medical Marijuana Case | Bolivia Coca Growers Announce Blockades for January 6 -- Will Continue Dialogue | DC Measure 62 Clears Hurdle, Goes to Congress 268/jeffjones Newsbrief: Oakland Cannabis Co-op Director Founded Guilty on Federal Jury Tampering Charges, Handed Out Flyer at Epis Trial | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: Stop the Presses! Poor, Blacks Face Brunt of Houston Drug War | Newsbrief: Texas ACLU Report Slams Task Forces, Calls for End to $200 Million Annual Boondoogle | Newsbrief: MPP Continues "War on Drug Czar" -- More Complaints to be Filed, O'Reilly Appearance Tonight | Newsbrief: Budget Cuts Free Kentucky Drug Prisoners -- Oklahoma Next? | Newsbrief: Nickelodeon Censors Beverly Hillbillies Marijuana References | Newsbrief: Asset Forfeiture Unconstitutional in New Jersey | Media Scan: Joycelyn Elders in Globe and Mail, George McMahon in Fort Worth Weekly, Jeff and Tracy, Santa Fe New Mexican, Medscape | DC Job Opportunities at DRCNet | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]