Tulia, Texas

Tulia, Texas

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Tulia, Texas
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Tulia, Texas

mapsize1 = 250px
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Texas
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Swisher

government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =

area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 9.2
area_land_km2 = 9.2
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 3.5
area_land_sq_mi = 3.5
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 5117
population_density_km2 = 558.9
population_density_sq_mi = 1447.6

timezone = Central (CST)
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 1062
elevation_ft = 3484
latd = 34 |latm = 32 |lats = 16 |latNS = N
longd = 101 |longm = 46 |longs = 10 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 79088
area_code = 806
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 48-73868GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1370199GR|3
website =
footnotes =

Tulia is a city in Swisher County, Texas, United States. The population was 5,117 at the 2000 census; in the 2005 census estimate, it had fallen to 4,714 [http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2005-04-48.xls] . Tulia is the county seat of Swisher CountyGR|6.

1999 drug arrests

Tulia gained notoriety following a drug sting in July 1999 that rounded up 46 people, forty of whom were African Americans. The remaining detainees were white people known to have ties within the black community, and in fact lived in the black part of town. Nearly one in three of Tulia's black males was arrested, about 15% of the town's black population.cite web
title=Democracy Now! | The Color of Justice in Tulia Texas
] cite book
author=Nate Blakeslee
title=Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town
location=New York
] All charges were based on the word of undercover officer Tom Coleman, a so called "gypsy cop" who made his living traveling through impoverished rural Texas offering to work undercover cheaply for short periods of time for underfunded police departments. Coleman claimed to have made over one hundred drug buys in the small town, essentially an impossible feat for an undercover officer working alone. He never recorded any of the sales, but claimed to have written painstaking notes on his leg under his shorts and upper arm under his shirt sleeve when nobody was looking.

During the roundup, no large sums of money, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, or illegal weapons were found. The accused drug dealers showed no signs of having any income associated with selling drugs. The drugs Coleman claimed to have bought from the accused did not have the fingerprints of the accused on them or their baggies. No independent witnesses could corroborate Coleman's claims. In his testimony, Coleman gave inaccurate descriptions of the "dealers" he had allegedly bought cocaine from. One suspect had his charges dropped when he was able to prove he had been at work during the times he had supposedly sold Coleman cocaine. Another produced bank and phone records indicating she was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the time of her alleged crime. Many of the accused, however, seeing the long sentences dealt out by all-white juries in the earliest cases, pled guilty in return for lesser sentences, despite their proclaimed innocence. The remaining defendants were convicted solely on the basis of Coleman's testimony. The state attorney general, awarded Coleman a prize for being "Lawman of the Year." cite web
title=The Color of Justice by Nate Blakeslee - The Texas Observer
] cite web
title=Tulia Travesty Covered Up By Texas Prosecutors and Courts

Eventually the case became a "cause célèbre", and money was raised to legally challenge the cases. Many had already served several years in prison before this process gained momentum. By 2004, most of the "Tulia 46" had been freed, and a $6,000,000 collective settlement was reached to avoid further litigation in civil court. Local authorities remain defiant, promising their town will not become a "slot machine" in the face of a new lawsuit stemming from an incident of police brutality during the sweep by a man who was not charged.cite web
title=The Austin Chronicle: News: Color of Justice: An Undercover Drug Bust Opens Old Wounds in Tulia, Texas
] cite web
title=News & Opinion: Color of Justice (Austin Chronicle . 07-31-00)

A documentary "Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War" was filmed by Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler in 2003, and won the Best Documentary Short award at Woodstock Film Festival.

Presently, the Tulia 46 drug sting event is in movie production "Tulia" by Paramount Pictures, directed by John Singleton and starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, scheduled for release in 2009.cite web
title=Tulia (2008) - Movie Details - Cast & Crew, Photos & Trailer - The Movie Insider

Federal laws titled after Tulia have twice been introduced in the United States Congress, but not enacted, to increase the evidentiary standard required to convict a person for a drug offense and to require screening of law enforcement officers or others acting under color of law participating in drug task forces.cite web
title=H.R. 253: No More Tulias: Drug Law Enforcement Evidentiary Standards Improvement Act of 2007 (GovTrack.us)


Tulia is located at coor dms|34|32|16|N|101|46|10|W|city (34.537702, -101.769307)GR|1. It is located 46 miles (74 km) south of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km²), all of it land.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 5,117 people, 1,698 households, and 1,222 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,447.6 people per square mile (559.7/km²). There were 1,898 housing units at an average density of 537.0/sq mi (207.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.45% White, 8.40% African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 22.12% from other races, and 2.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39.63% of the population.

There were 1,698 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.5% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 113.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,794, and the median income for a family was $32,415. Males had a median income of $24,857 versus $20,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,956. About 16.0% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.


The city is served by the Tulia Independent School District.

Schools that serve Tulia include Highland Elementary School (EE-2), W.V. Swinburn Elementary (3-5), Tulia Junior High School (6-8), and Tulia High School (9-12).


External links

* [http://www.csdp.org/news/news/corruption.htm#tmwhitefree sting victim released]
* [http://friendsofjustice.wordpress.com/ The Friends of Justice] , a group that formed to support the 47 people accused in the Tulia Drug Sting.
* [http://www.dpft.org/aclusuit1.html ACLU Tulia Law Suit]
* [http://www.talkleft.com/story/2005/01/14/800/15529 Tom Coleman probation]

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