Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town

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PublicAffairs, Sep 26, 2005 - History - 450 pages
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"Early one morning in the summer of 1999, authorities in the tiny west Texas town of Tulia began a roundup of suspected drug dealers. By the time the sweep was done, over forty people had been arrested and one of every five black adults in town was behind bars, all accused of dealing cocaine to the same undercover officer, Tom Coleman. Coleman, the son of a well-known Texas Ranger, was named Officer of the Year in Texas. Not until after the trials - in which Coleman's uncorroborated testimony secured sentences as long as 361 years - did it become apparent that Tom Coleman was not the man he claimed to be. By then two-dozen people were in prison, and the town of Tulia had become a battlefield in the national debate over the war on drugs." "Tulia is the story of this town, the bust, the trials, and the heroic legal battle to reverse the convictions that caught the attention of the nation in the spring of 2003. It is the story of Freddie Brookins, a young man with no prior record, whose father urged him to take his chances at trial, and who wound up in one of the state's toughest prisons. Of Joe Moore, the beloved godfather of black Tulia, convicted of selling a few grams of cocaine and sent away for ninety years. Of Vanita Gupta, a young attorney just a year out of law school, at the helm of the biggest civil rights case in the country." "The scandal changed the way narcotics enforcement is done in Texas, and has put the national drug war on trial at a time when incarceration rates in this country have never been higher. But the story is much bigger than the tale of just one bust. As Tulia makes clear, these events are the latest chapter in a story with themes as old as the country itself."--BOOK JACKET.
 

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User Review  - santhony - LibraryThing

Coming from a small South Arkansas town, I had mixed emotions reading this book. As a licensed attorney, the obvious abuses of criminal and constitutional law are indeed disturbing. I am not without ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dchaikin - LibraryThing

The author wrote the Texas Observer article that broke this story open. (A large percentage of the black population of a small Texas town was arrested, and many were convicted, for dealing in illegal ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue March 20 2003
3
CHAPTER ONE Busted
17
CHAPTER THREE Booties Empire
43
CHAPTER FOUR The Mayor of Vigo
60
CHAPTER FIVE Deep Cover
77
CHAPTER SIX Officer of the Year
95
CHAPTER SEVEN Donnie Smith
106
CHAPTER EIGHT Freddie Brookins Jr
138
CHAPTER TWELVE Sin and Redemption
215
CHAPTER THIRTEEN East Meets West
233
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Doing Time
252
CHAPTER FIFTEEN The Tide Turns
266
CHAPTER SIXTEEN The Dream Team
281
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN The Hearing
314
Epilogue Summer 2005
399
Appendix
409

CHAPTER NINE One Riot One Ranger
158
CHAPTER TEN Black Cards and White Cards
181
CHAPTER ELEVEN The Jump Out Boys
201
Notes
419
Acknowledgments
435
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About the author (2005)

Nate Blakeslee, a former editor of the Texas Observer, broke the Tulia story for the Observer in 2000. It was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. In 2004, he won the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for his drug war reporting. Blakeslee's work has also appeared in Texas Monthly and The Nation. He is a Soros Justice Media Fellow. Born and raised in Texas, he lives in Austin.

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