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View Full Version : Life Do yourself a favor. Don't drive through Tenaha TX


Mr. Flopnuts
05-06-2009, 09:30 AM
If this is true, they should all be strung up and hanged in the townsquare.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/05/texas.police.seizures/index.html?

Texas police shake down drivers, lawsuit claimsStory Highlights
Police stop drivers, take their money and jewelry, alleged victims say

Drivers threatened with arrest, loss of children if they don't pay up, plaintiffs say

Most targeted drivers are minorities who won't fight back, lawyer says

Town, county officials deny any wrongdoing, say officers follow the law



TENAHA, Texas (CNN) -- Roderick Daniels was traveling through East Texas in October 2007 when, he says, he was the victim of a highway robbery.


Police in the small East Texas town of Tenaha are accused of unjustly taking valuables from motorists.

The Tennessee man says he was ordered to pull his car over and surrender his jewelry and $8,500 in cash that he had with him to buy a new car.

But Daniels couldn't go to the police to report the incident.

The men who stopped him were the police.

Daniels was stopped on U.S. Highway 59 outside Tenaha, near the Louisiana state line. Police said he was driving 37 mph in a 35 mph zone. They hauled him off to jail and threatened him with money-laundering charges -- but offered to release him if he signed papers forfeiting his property.

"I actually thought this was a joke," Daniels told CNN.

But he signed.

"To be honest, I was five, six hundred miles from home," he said. "I was petrified." Watch CNN's Gary Tuchman try to question officials ╗

Now Daniels and other motorists who have been stopped by Tenaha police are part of a lawsuit seeking to end what plaintiff's lawyer David Guillory calls a systematic fleecing of drivers passing through the town of about 1,000.

"I believe it is a shakedown. I believe it's a piracy operation," Guillory said.

George Bowers, Tenaha's longtime mayor, says his police follow the law. And through her lawyers, Shelby County District Attorney Lynda Russell denied any impropriety.

Texas law allows police to confiscate drug money and other personal property they believe are used in the commission of a crime. If no charges are filed or the person is acquitted, the property has to be returned. But Guillory's lawsuit states that Tenaha and surrounding Shelby County don't bother to return much of what they confiscate.

Jennifer Boatright and Ron Henderson said they agreed to forfeit their property after Russell threatened to have their children taken away.

Like Daniels, the couple says they were carrying a large amount of cash --- about $6,000 -- to buy a car. When they were stopped in Tenaha in 2007, Boatright said, Russell came to the Tenaha police station to berate her and threaten to separate the family.

"I said, 'If it's the money you want, you can take it, if that's what it takes to keep my children with me and not separate them from us. Take the money,' " she said.

The document Henderson signed, which bears Russell's signature, states that in exchange for forfeiting the cash, "no criminal charges shall be filed ... and our children shall not be turned over" to the state's child protective services agency.

Maryland resident Amanee Busbee said she also was threatened with losing custody of her child after being stopped in Tenaha with her fiancÚ and his business partner. They were headed to Houston with $50,000 to complete the purchase of a restaurant, she said.

"The police officer would say things to me like, 'Your son is going to child protective services because you are not saying what we need to hear,' " Busbee said.

Guillory, who practices in nearby Nacogdoches, Texas, estimates authorities in Tenaha seized $3 million between 2006 and 2008, and in about 150 cases -- virtually all of which involved African-American or Latino motorists -- the seizures were improper.

"They are disproportionately going after racial minorities," he said. "My take on the matter is that the police in Tenaha, Texas, were picking on and preying on people that were least likely to fight back."

Daniels told CNN that one of the officers who stopped him tried on some of his jewelry in front of him.

"They asked me, 'What you are doing with this ring on?' I said I had bought that ring. I paid good money for that ring," Daniels said. "He took the ring off my finger and put it on his finger and told me how did it look. He put on my jewelry."

Texas law states that the proceeds of any seizures can be used only for "official purposes" of district attorney offices and "for law-enforcement purposes" by police departments. According to public records obtained by CNN using open-records laws, an account funded by property forfeitures in Russell's office included $524 for a popcorn machine, $195 for candy for a poultry festival, and $400 for catering.

In addition, Russell donated money to the local chamber of commerce and a youth baseball league. A local Baptist church received two checks totaling $6,000.

And one check for $10,000 went to Barry Washington, a Tenaha police officer whose name has come up in several complaints by stopped motorists. The money was paid for "investigative costs," the records state.

Washington would not comment for this report but has denied all allegations in his answer to Guillory's lawsuit.

"This is under litigation. This is a lawsuit," he told CNN.

Russell refused requests for interviews at her office and at a fundraiser for a volunteer fire department in a nearby town, where she also sang. But in a written statement, her lawyers said she "has denied and continues to deny all substantive allegations set forth."

Russell "has used and continues to use prosecutorial discretion ... and is in compliance with Texas law, the Texas constitution, and the United States Constitution," the statement said.

Bowers, who has been Tenaha's mayor for 54 years, is also named in the lawsuit. But he said his employees "will follow the law."

"We try to hire the very best, best-trained, and we keep them up to date on the training," he said.

The attention paid to Tenaha has led to an effort by Texas lawmakers to tighten the state's forfeiture laws. A bill sponsored by state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, would bar authorities from using the kind of waivers Daniels, Henderson and Busbee were told to sign.

"To have law enforcement and the district attorney essentially be crooks, in my judgment, should infuriate and does infuriate everyone," Whitmire said. His bill has passed the Senate, where he is the longest-serving member, and is currently before the House of Representatives.


Busbee, Boatright and Henderson were able to reclaim their property after hiring lawyers. But Daniels is still out his $8,500.

"To this day, I don't understand why they took my belongings off me," he said.

Duck Dog
05-06-2009, 09:37 AM
East Texas can be lawless. When I was stationed at Hood, my brother in law had a buddy who's aunt owned a bar that only allowed one black person in at a time. There was a bar stool for them, they could drink their beer and then the next one would take their place.

KCChiefsMan
05-06-2009, 09:47 AM
I lost my faith in humanity a long time ago

Mr. Flopnuts
05-06-2009, 09:55 AM
East Texas can be lawless. When I was stationed at Hood, my brother in law had a buddy who's aunt owned a bar that only allowed one black person in at a time. There was a bar stool for them, they could drink their beer and then the next one would take their place.

And they actually went in there to drink? Jesus, I'd rather drink at home. 2009 and that shit is still going on...................

Amnorix
05-06-2009, 10:04 AM
Congratulations, this will probably become a federal matter. The FBI should be speaking to the individuals named as defendants soon, and the US Attorney should have fun with this.

They are probably effed, as they should be if these charges are true.

Bob Dole
05-06-2009, 10:08 AM
Tenaha is a shithole. As soon as I-69 is complete, it will all but disappear from the map.

notorious
05-06-2009, 10:11 AM
Police have a lot of power, and most of them know how to handle it and are actually human about it. But if you run into one that abuses his power you are screwed.

BTW, has any of these people heard of cashiers checks or personal checks?!?! I would be paranoid as hell if I carried around that much $$$$!

Mr. Flopnuts
05-06-2009, 10:14 AM
The mayor's been mayor for 57 years. He knows what the fuck is going on.

Frazod
05-06-2009, 10:15 AM
I read this story on yesterday, and one of the reader comments under it made a valid point. Why would a guy from Tennessee drive all the way to somewhere in bumfuck Texas to buy a car? And why would he carry $8,500 in cash?

Seriously, who the hell carries that much cash on them driving cross country?

God knows I'm not defending or excusing this Southern-fried Roscoe P. Coletrain shit, but I seriously question the true motives of people who carry that kind of cash around. For starters, it's really stupid.

gblowfish
05-06-2009, 10:25 AM
Get outta the car, boy.
And let me try on that bling.

Dartgod
05-06-2009, 10:27 AM
I read this story on yesterday, and one of the reader comments under it made a valid point. Why would a guy from Tennessee drive all the way to somewhere in bum**** Texas to buy a car? And why would he carry $8,500 in cash?

Seriously, who the hell carries that much cash on them driving cross country?

God knows I'm not defending or excusing this Southern-fried Roscoe P. Coletrain shit, but I seriously question the true motives of people who carry that kind of cash around. For starters, it's really stupid.
Or the Maryland resident that was carrying $50,000 to purchase a restaurant in Houston? Something does not add up here.

Dave Lane
05-06-2009, 10:28 AM
Lot of people especially minorities don't have checking accounts and the police would know that.

notorious
05-06-2009, 10:32 AM
Common Sense is widespread through every race in the world.

If you do not have a checking account, there are Cashiers Checks.

Buuuuuuttttttt, if you didn't want the government to find out about the cash, which I do not blame them, your only option is to carry it with you. This leads me to believe that there is definately something fishy going on.

Frazod
05-06-2009, 10:37 AM
Or the Maryland resident that was carrying $50,000 to purchase a restaurant in Houston? Something does not add up here.

Exactly. I mean, if you want to carry that much cash around, I guess it's your right to do so, but it's really fucking stupid.

Raised On Riots
05-06-2009, 10:45 AM
:harumph:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjMLZuuXDRQ

ChiefButthurt
05-06-2009, 10:57 AM
So that's where the name "PIG" got started.

Garcia Bronco
05-06-2009, 11:22 AM
I read this story on yesterday, and one of the reader comments under it made a valid point. Why would a guy from Tennessee drive all the way to somewhere in bum**** Texas to buy a car? And why would he carry $8,500 in cash?

Seriously, who the hell carries that much cash on them driving cross country?

God knows I'm not defending or excusing this Southern-fried Roscoe P. Coletrain shit, but I seriously question the true motives of people who carry that kind of cash around. For starters, it's really stupid.

I agree its dumb. I would take a cashiers check myself, but they shouldn't get harassed for having cash nor have it stolen from them or siezed without evidence.

Fat Elvis
05-06-2009, 11:36 AM
East Texas is a completely different universe.

Frazod
05-06-2009, 11:37 AM
I agree its dumb. I would take a cashiers check myself, but they shouldn't get harassed for having cash nor have it stolen from them or siezed without evidence.

Not arguing that at all (see the Roscoe P. Coletrain comment). And I think I've made my feelings about cops in general pretty clear over the years. Sounds like these are taking their state-sanctioned thievery routine more seriously than most.

Frazod
05-06-2009, 11:39 AM
East Texas is a completely different universe.

I'll take your word for it. The closest I've been to Texas is Mississippi, and that was close enough.

beach tribe
05-06-2009, 11:55 AM
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Duck Dog
05-06-2009, 01:03 PM
And they actually went in there to drink? Jesus, I'd rather drink at home. 2009 and that shit is still going on...................

This was in '90.

Raised On Riots
05-06-2009, 01:10 PM
And they actually went in there to drink? Jesus, I'd rather drink at home. 2009 and that shit is still going on...................

No shit.

DaFace
05-06-2009, 01:13 PM
I read this story on yesterday, and one of the reader comments under it made a valid point. Why would a guy from Tennessee drive all the way to somewhere in bumfuck Texas to buy a car? And why would he carry $8,500 in cash?

Seriously, who the hell carries that much cash on them driving cross country?

God knows I'm not defending or excusing this Southern-fried Roscoe P. Coletrain shit, but I seriously question the true motives of people who carry that kind of cash around. For starters, it's really stupid.

I agree. The only thing I can think of is that, if they are targeting minorities, a lot of them like to deal in cash exclusively. So, while I certainly wouldn't be driving around with that kind of dough, I could see some people doing it.

The 50k one, however, is just insane. That sounds really fishy to me.

HC_Chief
05-06-2009, 01:19 PM
But he signed.

Hard to prove coersion. NEVER sign anything without a lawyer present.

KC native
05-06-2009, 01:21 PM
I agree. The only thing I can think of is that, if they are targeting minorities, a lot of them like to deal in cash exclusively. So, while I certainly wouldn't be driving around with that kind of dough, I could see some people doing it.

The 50k one, however, is just insane. That sounds really fishy to me.

There is a longer version of this story at the original source and the 50K was an elderly lady that was looking to buy a house. She hardly fits the profile of a drug smuggler.

TrebMaxx
05-07-2009, 08:47 AM
Looks like these bad cops are trying to weasel their way out of this one. I hope it is too late for them and are investigated.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/06/texas.police.seizures/index.html

Texas police will return cash in case that prompted lawsuit

* Story Highlights
* Tenaha, Texas, police confiscated money in 2007 after traffic stop
* Roderick Daniels was stopped for driving 37 mph in a 35-mph zone
* He and others who had property taken have filed lawsuit
* Town's officials say they have done nothing wrong

From Gary Tuchman and Katherine Wojtecki
CNN's AC 360

(CNN) -- Authorities who seized $8,500 and assorted jewelry from a Tennessee man after a traffic stop in east Texas have agreed to return the property after his case drew attention from CNN.

Roderick Daniels said police in Tenaha, Texas, took the money in October 2007 after they stopped him for doing 37 mph in a 35-mph zone. He said police threatened him with money-laundering charges and promised not to prosecute if he signed over the cash, which Daniels said was to buy a new car.

Daniels and other motorists who have been stopped by Tenaha police are part of a lawsuit seeking to end what plaintiff's lawyer David Guillory calls a systematic fleecing of drivers passing through the town of about 1,000. On Friday, after Shelby County District Attorney Lynda Russell refused repeated requests to discuss cases like Daniels' with CNN, her office filed papers dropping its claim on his property.

"I just feel blessed," Daniels said. "I am happy everything is going good right now. ... I just want to celebrate."

Texas law allows police to confiscate drug money and other personal property they think is used in the commission of a crime. If no charges are filed or the person is acquitted, the property has to be returned.

Russell issued a statement through her attorneys denying impropriety, and George Bowers, Tenaha's longtime mayor, says his police follow the law. But Guillory, who brought the lawsuit challenging the seizures, called cases like Daniels' "a shakedown" and "a piracy operation."

Guillory said authorities in Tenaha, about 180 miles east of Dallas, seized $3 million from 2006 to 2008. In about 150 cases, virtually all involving African-American or Latino motorists, the seizures were improper, he said.

All defendants in the lawsuit deny wrongdoing. In a written statement, Russell's attorneys said the prosecutor "has used and continues to use prosecutorial discretion ... and is in compliance with Texas law, the Texas constitution and the United States Constitution."

But the attention paid to Tenaha has led to an effort by Texas lawmakers to tighten the state's forfeiture laws.

Raised On Riots
05-07-2009, 10:16 AM
Death Squad. Yesterday.

whoman69
05-07-2009, 10:48 AM
The fact that anyone believes that police would have enough evidence from just a traffic stop to prove money laundering shows just how f'dup this whole thing is. The law allows for confiscation of drug money or money used in the commission of a crime, but evidence is still needed to prove that's what the money is for. Without actual drugs in the car that would be next to impossible.

Still, there are things that make you go hmmm to think that people are driving around with that much money.

FAX
05-07-2009, 10:52 AM
Yeah ... it doesn't take an NFL Analyst to figure out what's going on there, Mr. whoman69. I can't imagine my reaction if some hick cops took all my money for a speeding ticket. I'm pretty sure I'd wind up getting shot.

FAX