AfriGeneas at the Movies
Re: American Violet ~ opens 17 April
In Response To: American Violet ~ opens 17 April ()
This should be a good movie. It kind of reminds me of a real live drama that happened in Tulia Texas. One lady that was arrested was in another town when police claimed they had sold to her.
Tulia, Texas: Small Town, Big Injustice
Beginning in the early morning hours of July 23, 1999, a small town of 5,000 in the Texas panhandle was transformed. Tulia went from being just another rural town in Swisher County with a great interest in school sports to ground zero in the US Drug War. Following an 18-month investigation by a white, undercover narcotics officer, Tom Coleman, the police began to round up and arrest 46 people, 39 of whom were African-American. The remaining had ties to the town's small, black community.
In the end, more than 10% of Tulia's black population were arrested. Almost all were charged with selling small amounts of powder cocaine, worth less than $200, to Coleman. The first defendants went to trial to prove their innocence, and were handed sentences of 60 and 90 years. First-time offenders with no prior convictions were being locked away for 20 years or longer. The others soon learned that the mostly all white juries were convicting people based solely on Coleman's word and one bag of powder cocaine, with no corroborating evidence. There were no audiotapes, no video surveillance, and no wiretaps to back up his testimony. No drugs, no money, and no guns were found in the sweep of these mostly poor people, living in public housing, modest homes and trailers. On the advice of their attorneys the remaining defendants began to plea bargain rather than to risk trial, as they felt the criminal justice system was stacked against them.