Driving through the little town of Tenaha, Texas, may cost you a lot more than just gas money. A lawsuit contends that driving the stretch of highway that goes through the city is akin to highway robbery ... by the police!
Howard Witt of Chicago Tribue has the story:
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.
(Photo: Howard Witt/Chicago Tribune)
In 2007, cops stopped me south of Hattiesburg, pretending that maybe possibly perhaps I had failed to move to the left lane when passing their cars, probably stealing from other people with a rental truck. But, before talking to me, the fiend tried to wrench open the back hatch of my mini-van. There is no legal reason for that action. I did not understand until I got to Hattiesburg and talked to my son, who had the same false stop nonsense two hours earlier in Arkansas. (We were both going to his home in VA.)
This last October, I was driving across KY to visit a son in BG, Ohio. I was on cruise control doing 55 in a construction zone. When the speed limit resumed, I dialed my cruise control up to the limit. In a short distance the HP pulled me over, claiming I had been clocked doing 70 in a 55 zone. I told him I had done no such thing. He checked out my d/l and told me again I had been doing 70 in a 55 zone, and I told him again I had done no such thing.
When I got home, I wrote a letter to the KY HP commissioner and told him his cop was a gd liar. I further told him a lot of people know what they are doing, and IT WILL BE STOPPED.
For those silly people who trust the cops, and assume contrary to all evidence that anyone stopped has been doing something wrong, try a brain transplant.
I let out a sigh of relief when I cross the border into Mexico. I am far less afraid of Mexican cops, who want $20, not a car, and in most cases only if you have violated a law.
There is an organization called Oath Keepers, made up in part of active duty law enforcement, who are trying to urge cops to refuse to violate the Constitution. Thus, cops themselves know better than #31, that cops are doing this.
Be careful about believing a bunch of lies about other people. One day the media could tarnish your good name in the interest of grabbing headlines!