Pubdate: Tue, 15 Oct 2002
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Adam Bean


Again, Greg Sagan has hit the nail on the head (Oct. 1 column, "There are 
questions to be answered in Tulia").

After spending three years in Tulia as a high school student, I have no 
doubt that Sheriff Larry Stewart is a "nice man."

I have seen his car parked in front of the Church of Christ on a regular 
basis. I have no doubt that he cares about Tulia.

Furthermore, I would be wrong in asserting that Tulia is anything but a 
nice town to live in.

Nice, but due to the occurrences of July 1999, racist nonetheless.

When you arrest half of your town's black community, you'd better have a 
better response to criticism than the argument that your town is full of 
nice people who simply don't want drugs on the streets.

Sagan is correct in noting that the people of Tulia have applied a 
completely different standard of justice to drug offenses. Tulians bought 
into the myth that black drug dealers were selling cocaine to their 
children and in turn went on a crusade to put these "drug- dealing 
scumbags" in prison for as long as possible.

My fellow Tulians love to say that the defendants would have been treated 
no differently had they been white or Hispanic. We love to say that Tulia 
had no race problem until a bunch of trouble-making outsiders began 
stirring things up. Well, maybe the drug sting in Tulia was just the straw 
that broke the camel's back.

To defend the sting, the sheriff, the trials, or Tom Coleman's 
investigation is to defend injustice. It sends the clear message that Tulia 
cares only about its reputation and not about the plight of people whose 
families have been torn apart, whose dreams for the future have been 
broken, and whose lives have been destroyed by the questionable testimony 
of one man.

Adam Bean

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