Justice, Texas Style

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Tenaha, TX has apparently been using the state’s forfeiture law to fleece—guess who? Mostly blacks and Latinos.

From CNN:

Authorities who seized $8,500 and assorted jewelry from a Tennessee man after a traffic stop in east Texas have agreed to return the property after his case drew attention from CNN.

Roderick Daniels said police in Tenaha, Texas, took the money in October 2007 after they stopped him for doing 37 mph in a 35-mph zone. He said police threatened him with money-laundering charges and promised not to prosecute if he signed over the cash, which Daniels said was to buy a new car.

Texas law allows police to confiscate drug money and other personal property they think is used in the commission of a crime. If no charges are filed or the person is acquitted, the property has to be returned.

…authorities in Tenaha, about 180 miles east of Dallas, seized $3 million from 2006 to 2008. In about 150 cases, virtually all involving African-American or Latino motorists, the seizures were improper, he said.

Reads like a bad episode of Hee Haw.

I guess I won’t hold my breath until either the cops or prosecutors who cooked up this racist scam and abuse of authority face the kind of criminal penalties they so casually aimed at others.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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