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Highway Robbery? Texas Police Seize Black Motorists' Cash, Cars
Chicago Tribune ^ | March 10, 2009 | Howard Witt

Posted on 03/09/2009 10:18:56 PM PDT by nickcarraway

You can drive into this dusty fleck of a town near the Texas-Louisiana border if you're African-American, but you might not be able to drive out of it—at least not with your car, your cash, your jewelry or other valuables.

That's because the police here allegedly have found a way to strip motorists, many of them black, of their property without ever charging them with a crime. Instead they offer out-of-towners a grim choice: voluntarily sign over your belongings to the town, or face felony charges of money laundering or other serious crimes.

More than 140 people reluctantly accepted that deal from June 2006 to June 2008, according to court records. Among them were a black grandmother from Akron, who surrendered $4,000 in cash after Tenaha police pulled her over, and an interracial couple from Houston, who gave up more than $6,000 after police threatened to seize their children and put them into foster care, the court documents show. Neither the grandmother nor the couple were charged with any crime.

Officials in Tenaha, situated along a heavily traveled highway connecting Houston with popular gambling destinations in Louisiana, say they are engaged in a battle against drug trafficking and call the search-and-seizure practice a legitimate use of the state's asset-forfeiture law. That law permits local police agencies to keep drug money and other property used in the commission of a crime and add the proceeds to their budgets.

"We try to enforce the law here," said George Bowers, mayor of the town of 1,046 residents, where boarded-up businesses outnumber open ones and City Hall sports a broken window. "We're not doing this to raise money. That's all I'm going to say at this point."

(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Front Page News; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: donutwatch; drugwarconsequences; thankprohibition; wod
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1 posted on 03/09/2009 10:18:56 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

police highway robbery ping


2 posted on 03/09/2009 10:25:38 PM PDT by gleeaikin
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To: nickcarraway

The title just might be a little misleading, since the text of the article states that “many” of the motorists are black.


3 posted on 03/09/2009 10:25:39 PM PDT by Tex Pete (Obama for Change: from our pockets, our piggy banks, and our couch cushions!)
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To: nickcarraway

How many of the 140 were black?


4 posted on 03/09/2009 10:28:26 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
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To: nickcarraway
If that's the case then it's wrong and should be stopped. Sadly, there's been too many locales throughout the years that have earned a reputation for systematic police mistreatment of black citizens.

On the other hand, it's also sad that there's also too many black neighborhoods where a white person has a great chance of losing his property and well-being without being charged with a crime. A little media even-handedness and outrage at ALL systematic denials of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be welcome.

5 posted on 03/09/2009 10:29:23 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: nickcarraway

As it turns out, the route in question is not the main traffic corridor to the LA casinos, but instead one that stretches out into the middle of nowhere.

And in the one example the reporter actually lists, that poor woman ostensibly targeted for her interracial family was actually driving in the wrong lane with a crack pipe and $6k in cash for the “used car” she said she was going to buy.


6 posted on 03/09/2009 10:30:26 PM PDT by BobbyT
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To: nickcarraway

Alright, so, the lesson here is, if we’re “going Galt,” let’s all make sure not to keep too much cash on hand while we’re on the move. ;-)


7 posted on 03/09/2009 10:31:24 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes (Dad, I will always think of you.)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
If that's the case then it's wrong and should be stopped. Sadly, there's been too many locales throughout the years that have earned a reputation for systematic police mistreatment of black citizens.

Sadly, our current president's policies take away the wealth of predominently white citizens, and give a few scraps to predominently black citizens.

8 posted on 03/09/2009 10:33:16 PM PDT by Go Gordon
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To: nickcarraway

This makes my blood boil. We really need reform in all this seizure crap.


9 posted on 03/09/2009 10:33:37 PM PDT by umgud (I'm really happy I wasn't aborted)
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To: BobbyT

Jennifer Boatright, her husband and two young children—a mixed-race family—were traveling from Houston to visit relatives in east Texas in April 2007 when Tenaha police pulled them over, alleging that they were driving in a left-turn lane.

After searching the car, the officers discovered what Boatright said was a gift for her sister: a small, unused glass pipe made for smoking marijuana. Although they found no drugs or other contraband, the police seized $6,037 that Boatright said the family was carrying to purchase a used car—and then threatened to turn their children, ages 10 and 1, over to Child Protective Services if the couple didn’t agree to sign over their right to their cash.

“It was give them the money or they were taking our kids,” Boatright said. “They suggested that we never bring it up again. We figured we better give them our cash and get the hell out of there.”

Several months later, after Boatright and her husband contacted an attorney, Tenaha officials returned their money but offered no explanation or apology. The couple remain plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.


10 posted on 03/09/2009 10:34:09 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
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To: nickcarraway

Reminds me of my visit to a small Texas city. They hit us with a ridiculous traffic ticket for going 1 over. Yes, one mile over the speed limit. 66 in a 65 zone.

When my friend, a lawyer, wanted to fight the ticket, he was told that he would have to return in 90 days for an initial court appearance. Then they would schedule the trial.

He checked and found that there was no reciprocity with Texas. So, they didn’t get their money and he just won’t go back to Texas.


11 posted on 03/09/2009 10:35:09 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: nickcarraway
Black or white (or any other color), it sounds like the criminals in that little burg have the badges AND the guns. Volusia County Florida used to also be notorious for these sort of shenanigans.
12 posted on 03/09/2009 10:35:30 PM PDT by mkjessup (You're either with our Constitution, or you are with TKU ("The Kenyan Usurper"). CHOOSE!!!)
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To: nickcarraway

Sounds like a poor economic model to me. Creating is ALWAYS more profitable than stealing.


13 posted on 03/09/2009 10:35:44 PM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: Go Gordon

If you make money, Obama’s philosophy will tax you dry without respect to race, religion or national origin. The far left tax collection policy wants to grab Lebron James’s money as much as anybody else.


14 posted on 03/09/2009 10:38:17 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: nickcarraway
>>...town of 1,046 residents...<<

Radiator Springs' evil twin, I guess.


15 posted on 03/09/2009 10:39:32 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: BuckeyeTexan
197 cases between 2006 and 2008 where property was seized. 50 were charged with drug possession. Of the 147 remaining cases where no criminal charges were filed, 40 of the motorists were black. 40 out of 197 and yet somehow "The whole thing is disproportionately targeted toward minorities, particularly African-Americans?"

I am sick of this whole business. What about the other 157 motorists? What color were they?

16 posted on 03/09/2009 10:40:01 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
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To: MediaMole

Tickets are the only way small Texas towns can reliably come with operating funds. ;)


17 posted on 03/09/2009 10:41:30 PM PDT by txnativegop (God Bless America! (NRA-Endowment))
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To: BobbyT

Oh yeah, $6,000 fines are appropriate for driving in the wrong lane.


18 posted on 03/09/2009 10:43:01 PM PDT by Arguendo
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To: BuckeyeTexan

Frankly, these people need to see these two videos.

Actually, EVERYONE should see them.

The wrong way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaCe6nQUX5c

The right way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDJrQBwJpqk


19 posted on 03/09/2009 10:43:15 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: BuckeyeTexan

It’s that old media lack of an even hand.


20 posted on 03/09/2009 10:45:16 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Arguendo

My brother knows a politician in a central American country (not Mexico). My brother was remarking on the “seemingly unwarranted” traffic stops you would get down there, and that it was not like in the US. The guy said, “Oh yeah? Try getting stopped in the US and not being able to speak English and see where that gets you.”

Bottom line, if we heard about this but it was in Mexico or some other third world country, it would be what we expect but the US is so much more civilized.

Apparently not though. We just accept it just as they do in third world countries. Interesting.

Makes one kinda re-adjust their paradigms. Maybe the world is not what we thought it was...


21 posted on 03/09/2009 10:47:00 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: txnativegop

They should figure out that it doesn’t pay to pull over cars containing obnoxious New York lawyers heading to a Yankees game in Arlington.

...actually, I can see why they would enjoy that.


22 posted on 03/09/2009 10:47:30 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: MediaMole

Arlington cops will pull over anyone for any reason. They are hardcore at times about certain things.


23 posted on 03/09/2009 10:48:34 PM PDT by txnativegop (God Bless America! (NRA-Endowment))
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To: Tired of Taxes

>>Alright, so, the lesson here is, if we’re “going Galt,” let’s all make sure not to keep too much cash on hand while we’re on the move.<<

Or hide it in a really hard to find place and then DO NOT let the cops into your car unless they force themselves on you. Then they remove all doubt regarding who or what they are.

I like the video that shows the guy, when the cop asks him to step out of the car, locks the doors. When the cop threatens him when he won’t cooperate, the guy says, “Are we free to go then?”

Takes guts, but if you KNOW you are right, it is not that hard.


24 posted on 03/09/2009 10:49:43 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: nickcarraway

This town is out in the middle of nowhere, there is little or no reason for someone going gambling in Louisiana from Houston to go this route. Unless of course they are drug runners trying to avoid detection.


25 posted on 03/09/2009 10:50:49 PM PDT by txnativegop (God Bless America! (NRA-Endowment))
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To: txnativegop

And in any case, don’t mess with small PD, in Texas or anywhere else for that matter.


26 posted on 03/09/2009 10:51:36 PM PDT by txnativegop (God Bless America! (NRA-Endowment))
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
If you make money, Obama’s philosophy will tax you dry without respect to race, religion or national origin. The far left tax collection policy wants to grab Lebron James’s money as much as anybody else.

In reality, what % of the people having their money taken away are white, 99%. Although the laws are written with regard to color, their application is design to hurt whites - no ifs and or butts. 20 years in that church brain-washed the idiot-in-chief

27 posted on 03/09/2009 10:51:43 PM PDT by Go Gordon
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To: MediaMole

If I were a cop, I would LOVE to pull over a NYC lawyer. He’d leave the area wearing a fig leaf, if I could arrange it.

And yeah, I’d do it just to tick him off, too. LOL!!!


28 posted on 03/09/2009 10:53:35 PM PDT by txnativegop (God Bless America! (NRA-Endowment))
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To: nickcarraway

I used to drive a truck for a beer distributor through Tenaha twice a week. I got pulled over once for going 3 miles over the speed limit. It was a state trooper who pulled me over. He told me he would let me off with a warning if I had some “free samples” on the truck. I took the ticket.


29 posted on 03/09/2009 10:55:05 PM PDT by waiyu (Some are wise, some are otherwise.)
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The Tribune is hemorrhaging money and may well go bankrupt. Yet they have a reporter who scours the country looking for cases in which blacks are abused, exploited or hard done by. That is ALL this guy writes about. Last year he was wringing his hands over a gang of black Louisiana teen thugs who were arrested and prosecuted after beating a white schoolmate almost to death in a racist attack. In the reporter’s twisted worldview, the assailants were the real victims because someone had supposedly hung a noose on a tree. There was no claim the victim had anything to do with the offending noose: apparently all white persons are guilty. In today’s story, does anyone doubt that the 6K in cash was drug money?


30 posted on 03/09/2009 10:58:40 PM PDT by Godwin1 (Muslims)
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To: nickcarraway

If the story is true, it appears that public officials in that town need to go to federal prison. I hope the feds are really digging into that situation.


31 posted on 03/09/2009 11:06:26 PM PDT by familyop (combat engineer (combat), National Guard, '89-'96, Duncan Hunter or no-vote)
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To: txnativegop
Yeah... and they need police cars, too:

Hoover’s newest police vehicle is a Porsche 911, which was seized in a drug bust two years ago. The Porsche will be used for community events.


32 posted on 03/09/2009 11:12:38 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl

if they ever have to catch a Ferrari or Lamborghini they might just have a chance with that car.

Funky color scheme though.


33 posted on 03/09/2009 11:16:26 PM PDT by txnativegop (God Bless America! (NRA-Endowment))
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To: BuckeyeTexan

my guess.. about 12%


34 posted on 03/09/2009 11:19:12 PM PDT by sten
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To: nickcarraway

Wow, it’s like The Cars That Ate Paris.


35 posted on 03/09/2009 11:24:44 PM PDT by LifeComesFirst (Until the unborn are free, nobody is free)
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway
I looked up the reporter Howard Witt on the Trib’s website He seems to major in “civil rights” stories. There's also an interview where he calls Texas “a foreign country”. Leftard agenda, anybody?
37 posted on 03/09/2009 11:31:55 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: Tex Pete

I’m glad so many here would rather their police officers be ordinary thieves than racist thieves. Makes me feel that some progress is being made in this country.


38 posted on 03/09/2009 11:32:04 PM PDT by garbanzo (Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.)
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To: nickcarraway

Civil forfeitures without criminal trials are a travesty of justice. I’m not saying they’re unconstitutional, barring bad faith, but they are a travesty.


39 posted on 03/09/2009 11:33:55 PM PDT by WheresMyBailout
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To: nickcarraway
An old lyrics part is driving me up the wall.

“Tenaha, Tempson, Bobo and Blair.”

Help needed on this, maybe from the thirties or forties.

40 posted on 03/09/2009 11:36:13 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ((B.?) Hussein (Obama?Soetoro?Dunhem?), change America will die for.)
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To: RobRoy

First, I watched the “wrong way” video. Through the whole video, I was thinking “Man, this goes from bad to worse. What is he doing wrong? I’d do all the same things - be respectful, polite, and cooperative.”

Then I watched the “right way” video and thought, “How in the heck is it possible that I have been so uninformed all these years?”

What an “Ah ha!” moment. Thanks.


41 posted on 03/09/2009 11:42:24 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo and Blair
42 posted on 03/09/2009 11:46:53 PM PDT by TheMole
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To: Arguendo

Ahem. She was driving in a left turn lane with $6000 AND a crack pipe.

Details.


43 posted on 03/09/2009 11:48:19 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
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To: BuckeyeTexan
She was driving in a left turn lane with $6000 AND a crack pipe.

Oops.

44 posted on 03/09/2009 11:55:14 PM PDT by Mojave (Don't blame me. I voted for McClintock.)
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To: garbanzo

I didn’t comment one way or the other on what the police may or may not be doing. I was only noting that the headline made an implication that the article does not support.

No need to let that upset you.


45 posted on 03/10/2009 12:02:27 AM PDT by Tex Pete (Obama for Change: from our pockets, our piggy banks, and our couch cushions!)
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To: Mojave
Oops.

The bag of crack can be found under the car.

46 posted on 03/10/2009 12:03:13 AM PDT by Does so (White House uncomfortable? Sleeplessness? The 0bama will quit before 6 months are up.)
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To: nickcarraway

Earlier story:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2181030/posts


47 posted on 03/10/2009 12:03:40 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows ("I HOPE you like your CHANGE."--MrB)
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To: txnativegop

That’s because Arlington has been taken over by thugs and gangs. Have you been to the Parks Mall lately? I had to pick up a custom-made suit over there last year on a Friday night. I was afraid for my life just trying to get to the car. Now I have a CCP, but I’m still not going back there again.


48 posted on 03/10/2009 12:06:06 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
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To: TheMole

Thank you very much!


49 posted on 03/10/2009 12:13:16 AM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ((B.?) Hussein (Obama?Soetoro?Dunhem?), change America will die for.)
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To: nickcarraway
I hate these Asset Forfeiture laws. But, you still need to stay out of Judge Alvin's Courtroom.


50 posted on 03/10/2009 12:22:48 AM PDT by Prospero (non est ad astra mollis e terris via)
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