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The Color of Justice: The War On Drugs in Tulia, Texas

August 22, 2000
Story
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You’ve heard of racial profiling of individuals driving on the highway or walking down the street, well what about the profiling of an entire town? This is the story of a small town drug bust that seems too incredible to believe. It happened in the tiny Texas town of Tulia near Amarillo, population 5000. In January of 1998, Swisher County conducted its first major drug sting using an undercover agent. Based on his deep cover operation the county swooped down a year ago and arrested 10 percent of Tulias black population. Then the plea bargains and the trials began. Some of those arrested were sentenced to more than 100 years for the sale of cocaine. Based on what evidence? Often just the word of the undercover agent, Tom Coleman, who it now turns out has a criminal record. How did this all happen? And where does this all stand now?

Guests:

  • Rev Charles Kiker, a retired minister of the American Baptist Churches USA and a resident of Tulia, Texas.
  • Gary Gardner, a farmer and crop-duster who lives in a small village 25 miles north of Tulia, Texas.
  • Nate Blakeslee, Associate Editor of The Texas Observer which first broke the story "The Color of Justice."

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