Authorities in a Texas county where a drug enforcement program was allegedly used to shake down black and Latino highway travelers are returning more than $100,000 taken during the traffic stops.
The stops in Tenaha, which often resulted in people being forced to hand over cash without any charges being filed, have led to multiple lawsuits and two federal criminal investigations.
District Attorney Kenneth Florence said Shelby County has dismissed all of its pending forfeiture cases, even those without a connection to Tenaha, in what he described as an effort to turn the page after an agreement was reached in August to settle a class action lawsuit stemming from the stops.
“I just don’t think you could get anything done with any of those cases,” said Florence, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in August and is running for the post in next week’s election. “They are all tainted, so to speak.”
An Associated Press report last year detailed how some of the stops also resulted in suspected drug traffickers receiving light sentences or escaping criminal prosecution altogether for giving up their cash. Those cases netted the county more than $800,000 in less than a year.
They were prosecuted by the county’s former district attorney, Lynda Kaye Russell, who retired at the end of last year. Russell has not responded to repeated requests for comment, and she asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination for every question in a deposition for the class action lawsuit.
There’s more, and worse. Reprehensible cops. They should be in prison along with everyone else in the ‘judicial system’ that took part in this scam.
The moral? Avoid Texas. Treat it the same way the Jews of Jesus’ day treated Samaria: bypass it and have nothing to do with the inhabitants of that pagan place.