posted on Mar, 17 2009 @ 09:16 AM
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.