Newsbrief: A Triple-Shot of Good News for Tulia 3/12/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


The victims of the notorious Tulia, Texas, drug busts of 2001, where 46 people, nearly all black, were arrested and imprisoned on drug charges fabricated by a discredited police officer, got a triple-shot of good news this week. Not only has the man who prosecuted them been driven from office, but the Tulia victims also won a settlement to their civil suit against the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force, to which the discredited officer belonged, and now there are two competing screen versions of the whole sordid tale set to air in the near future.

On Wednesday, attorneys in the case announced that the city of Amarillo, which had primary responsibility for the drug task force, had agreed to pay $5 million, permanently disband the task force, and send two task force supervisors into early retirement. "This is undoubtedly the last major chapter in the Tulia story, and this will conclude the efforts of people in Tulia to get some compensation and justice," Amarillo attorney Jeff Blackburn, who represented the people arrested five years ago, told the New York Times. "With the abolition of the task force, it completely closes the circle on what was done."

The next target is similar task forces statewide, said Blackburn. "I am really hopeful that this will send a shock wave to Austin and that it will result in a complete systematic overhaul of narcotics enforcement in Texas."

The $5 million will be divided among the 45 remaining victims (one has since died) according to whether and for how long they served time in prison. At least 13 of the Tulia victims had to wait for a pardon from Gov. Rick Perry last year to be freed.

That good news made Tuesday's primary election results in Swisher County, where Tulia is located, even sweeter. District Attorney Terry McEachern, who sent dozens of innocent people to prison on the basis of fabricated testimony by his sole witness, police officer Tom Coleman, and who never conceded that he had been wrong, was defeated in the Republican primary for district attorney for Swisher and Hale counties. McEachern came in a weak third, with 25% of the vote.

And two days before that, the World Entertainment News Network reported that actresses Halle Berry and Alfre Woodard are starring in competing movie versions of the Tulia tale. Berry will play a real-life Tulia attorney in a movie set to be shot in 2006, while Woodard will play Tulia matriarch Mattie White, whose four children were among those arrested, in a CBS TV movie set to air before that.

Justice (and Hollywood) come at last to Tulia.

-- 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 #328, 3/12/04 A Message from the Executive Director About Our Drug Czar | Fallout from Police Drug War Killings Roils Communities | Despite Federal Push for Student Drug Testing, Schools Not Jumping on the Bandwagon -- Yet | March Madness for SSDP: Drug Czars, Nervous Narcs, and More Resolutions | Russia's New Drug Law in Effect: No Jail for Drug Users, Greater Penalties for Drug Traffickers | Dutch to Expand Free Heroin Program | Screenings! "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" to Air Around the Country March 29th to April 12th -- Host One in Your Home or Community or School! | DRCNet Merchandise Special Extended | Newsbrief: A Triple-Shot of Good News for Tulia | Newsbrief: Californians Pay Billions to Lock Up Nonviolent "Three-Strikes" Offenders for Decades, Study Says | Newsbrief: Fat & Sloth Kill 20 Times More People than Illegal Drugs, Study Finds | Newsbrief: European Drug Agency Report Finds Safe Injection Sites Achieve Goals | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Radio: David Borden to be Guest on "His Side With Glenn Sacks," LA, Seattle & Online, Sunday, March 14 | This Week in History | 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]