Pubdate: Tue, 15 Oct 2002
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Myrla Gardner
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)
Bookmark: (Racial Issues)


Billy Wayne Dick's Sept. 28 guest column about the Tulia drug bust provided 
a different perspective.

Dick was a 1960 football star in Tulia with the current sheriff and several 
others he listed as "the real citizens of Tulia."

In his column written to several area papers, he stated the sheriff and the 
"real citizens of Tulia" were "Christians," "humanitarians," and "true 

The only evidence in these cases was provided by a former jailer fired from 
his past job and hiding from arrest warrants related to his previous law 
enforcement employment. He supposedly was the only witness to 100-plus 
crimes committed in Tulia by 46 people. No other evidence or witnesses were 
brought forward.

The undercover agent's questionable background was not allowed in any of 
the Tulia trials.

But the sheriff was allowed to testify to his opinion that the agent was 
"truthful" and told the media the agent was a "man of integrity and 

In court, District Attorney Terry McEachern suggested the credibility of 
the sheriff was in question if the defendents were found innocent.

Dick may be correct that racism is not the primary issue. What may be 
preventing due process in Swisher County is that the 46 accused citizens 
did not have the relationship with the sheriff the "real citizens" enjoyed.

Is it possible the primary concern of the jurors was the reputation of the 
sheriff and not the evidence against the accused?

The sheriff, district attorney and judge missed the opportunity to perform 
their jobs in a professional, non-personal manner. As a result, the lives 
of 46 black citizens have been destroyed, the judicial system appears to be 
corrupt, and a town is embroiled in a race controversy.

Again, as Dick suggests, the problem may not be racism.

Myrla Gardner, Tulia
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