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Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 20:31 GMT
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Texas undercover - was broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday, 2 March, 2003 at 1915 GMT.
Because of the high volume of correspondence we receive, we cannot guarantee to publish every single e-mail.
While the events in Tulia are indeed horrible, this type of justice can be found in any corner of the state of Texas. The word of an alleged drug seller is always trumped by the word of a law officer. Most defendants plea bargain a prison sentence rather than face a jury. Tulia's case stands out because it was the most blatantly racist.
Jerry Epstein, USA
I am a Canadian citizen living in Tulia, Texas. When our local reform organization, Friends of Justice, started raising questions about the Tulia undercover operation two-and-a-half years ago we never dreamed we would one day see Coleman and Sheriff Larry Stewart featured on the BBC. I know aspects of the Tulia story are faintly reminiscent of an old Monty Python Sketch. But for those of us who live in Tulia (and a thousand little towns like it) it's just business as usual. Thanks to Tom Mangold and his crew for coming to Tulia and airing this frightening story.
Funnily enough this was the state where our friend George W came from, does this give us an insight into the psyche of Blair's admirer. At least we have a relatively neutral judicial system here. However miscarriages of justice do commonly occur, especially among ethnic minorities. At least that could never happen in Britain to the same extent.
Glenn Christmas should take his head out of the sand and have a real look at the world. Has he never heard of the prosecutions responsibility to 'prove beyond a reasonable doubt' and where was the judge in all this, had not he/she heard of that? The defendant does not have to prove his/her innocence. This programme told us a lot about 'modern' America. Ray McGowan
This is typical of America. They want to police the world and give justice to the world, but they can't give justice to their own people. They still have racist, ignorant, bigoted individuals in positions of responsibility. They still have a massive gap between rich and poor, where the poor are always the losers. The U.S.A. needs to look in its own backyard, and put its own house in order, before it tries to put the world to rights.
Richard Spragg, UK
The "investigating " officer should be brought up in front of the courts and be charged. He is the one who should be in prison. I find it hard to relate to the racist redneck attitude that was shown. How these people can sleep at night is beyond me! If there is anything else I could do to help these people please let me know. "Detective Coleman" will be going to hell!!
That such racism and such a miscarriage of justice is still rife in small town America is no surprise. What is surprising is how the judicial system in Tulia can get away with it.
How can we possibly sanction going to war alongside a country which flaunts justice so blatantly, with the same hypocrisy of persecution with which it accuses Saddam Hussein of being guilty, yet we ignorantly willingly subscribe to it at home ourselves when we should be attacking the state which permits and perpetuates this system in this insane "civilised" world.
Karl Terry, UK
This is a sad reflection on the type of justice present in the USA at the end of the 20th century. In this day and age it should not be possible for anyone to be successfully prosecuted for a felony on the basis of one man's testimony, even if he carries a badge. Unfortunately this is seldom an isolated case.
What is the percentage of black people in the UK imprisoned as well? We are not that much different. And if we are not black we are poor. No? Only the odd rich person goes to jail here and I suppose it's the same in the U.S. To be innocent and have your life destroyed must be the worst thing in the world. The programme was excellent. It gives me hope that people still care about other people.
Jason McAnea, England
I am so glad the BBC exposed this injustice because it highlights the problem that racism is still very much alive. Yes I am black and yes this is probably a biased email but as the Correspondent programme showed, black people are still oppressed to some various degree.
It makes me sick to see a man who can cause so much vindictiveness against so many people and still sleep at night. Tom Coleman should not be a part of any society and should have defiantly not had any rule over society. I would like to see justice take this man to jail for a exceptionally long time, and see the people who he has wrongly jailed compensated.
Alicia (Afro-Native American)
As a law enforcement professional, I am extremely embarrassed by the slipshod work of Tom Coleman. He is a disgrace to the rest of us who have carried a badge & gun. That he targeted only blacks and those romantically involved with blacks he could almost be a KKK member with a badge. Disgusting!! Unfortunately, there are still many officers who act & think like Coleman.
What an amazing programme about Tulia, I was gripped; the most chilling person was not the dubious undercover policeman, Tom Coleman, but the juror who just wanted the defendant to 'say he was sorry'!! With little or no care whether he was innocent or not. Those poor people did not have a chance. How frightful!!!
Showcasing the serious issues in Tulia, Texas was not surprising. What I would like to know, however, is why is the BBC is focusing on America's undercover policies and cops? The UK has enough of its own problems that could and should be covered on the BBC. Mind your own business. Thank you and have a nice day.
Gavin Minion, UK
It's amazing when you hear such things are happening in the USA, the self proclaimed champion of democracy, justice, equality and human rights. Such a thing might never happen in China, Iraq or North Korea. Tania's case alone is enough to clear all the 46 black people arrested by the well known criminal, Tom. This is 11th century barbarism in the heart of a 21st century superpower nation.
Because Tom Coleman is not a saint doesn't mean the criminals he put behind bars are innocent. It is rather obvious, perhaps I should say crystal clear, that you think any arrest for drugs is wrong. You clearly want drugs legalized and drug users to be set free because it is a "victimless crime". How in the world can you make an honest presentation when you are so very biased? I am an American and not in favour of legalized drugs.
Babs Baba, UK
How can this happen in a country calling itself civilised? How can Tom Coleman and the woman juror interviewed be allowed to walk free? Shame on you Texas. May you reap the harvest you so deserve.
Would defence lawyers in Britain have been able to access Government and police documents here under a Freedom of Information act? Ask Jack Straw! Would the "Tulia law" have been passed in Britain? Stop and search type practices are still a reality - though supposedly banned. What is the conviction ratio of black to white people charged with drug offences in the UK? Pots and kettles come to mind.
I am extremely concerned about the nature of Texan justice - especially about the recent execution of Jacky Elliot, despite pleas on his behalf by such notable public figures as Jack Straw. I very much hope that a review of his case will still take place despite his execution.
Every time it seemed that it could not get more pantomime-like, it did. I can understand the reticence of the Texan police department to answer questions directly - they should, I hope, be thoroughly ashamed of letting such a flawed investigation occur under their nose.
How the southern states of America can possibly be counted as developed and humane states is beyond my comprehension. Nightly on the news we here Tony Blair and George Bush preach that we should invade Iraq because of how the state treats its people, especially the Kurds. It appears to me that this documentary highlights the similar frightening treatment of black people in Texas.
This programme should shock me but it doesn't, mind you I didn't think that Texas could sink much lower. How about a programme on America's lack of human rights?
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