American Morning

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May 5th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen!

On Tuesday, American Morning viewers passionately responded to the Texas “Highway Robbery” segment. Many shared stories of corruption in Texas, while others felt the piece was assaulting the reputation of Texas lawmen.

  • Richard: I am a lawyer in Central Texas. I testified to the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee last spring about asset forfeiture fund abuses. The D.A. in Kimble County, about 100 miles NW of San Antonio, on Interstate 10, gave thousands of dollars to the judge that hears the forfeiture and criminal cases. The judge and his wife also went to Hawaii several times gratis, compliments of the DA. The judge is still there. John Burnett at NPR has been investigating this; he ran a series of stories last year.
  • David: The highway patrol in Louisiana and Texas have been doing this for years. They look for minorities as well as people with out of state license plates. The highway patrol finds them to be easy prey. The law that allows the police to do this is ridiculous. The cops are very corrupt and it will only end if Federal authorities step in. Years ago Stone Phillips did an investigation and interviewed quite a number of people. More recently, Howard Witt performed another investigation. I really don't think anything will be done about this until Federal authorities take over.
  • James: Shame on Gary Tuchman, and Shame on CNN! While I certainly appreciate the newsworthiness of such a story (law enforcement officers ripping off minority drivers), SHAME on both of you for airing the snippet/preview at 8:50 AM EST on Tuesday 5 May **WITHOUT** identifying the location where this was taking place!! There will be many people who see this report, in which the bad behavior was attributed to Texas, yet the video showed what was obviously a small-town cop and a small-town DA. However, many people will NOT be able to tune into the full report at 10:00 PM on AC 360. Effect? These people have "Texas" in their mind, and you have just smeared the reputations of THOUSANDS of reputable law enforcement officers in a state currently engaged in a front-line border war, a drug war, and under the assault of a wave of illegal immigration. I cannot believe such a "sweeps week" type of stunt would be pulled by a network of CNN's stature. Disappointing, very disappointing.

How do you feel about the story alleging corruption in the Texas highway patrol?  How would you like to see this situation investigated? Tell us your thoughts on this heated topic and be sure to tune in tonight on AC360 for the investigation by Gary Tuchman.

The Craigslist crackdown was perceived to be “nothing more than a few moralist bible-thumpers blowing a lot of hot air” and should not be accepted without question.

  • Steven: All these calls for Craigslist to crackdown, limit, or better police their 'erotic services" ad category is nothing more than a few moralist bible-thumpers blowing a lot of hot air, and really, I'm disappointed in the media, including CNN, for their unquestioning acceptance of this facade of an issue! Look, there are erotic services advertised in numerous local publications, including the Yellow Pages, not to mention far more as close as a split-second Google search! Where is the call for policing the entire internet? Or other local zines or the phone book? This is so absurd. The sex business, until we legalize & regulate it, is, and always has been, a "buyer beware" enterprise. To pick on Craigslist, as if it's any more responsible or liable for criminal assaults or murders is preposterous. Why do reporters/anchors no longer question anything, but simply swallow whole, whatever outrage or accusation that hits the airwaves? Journalism has surely hit a low point.

Are you a Craigslist user? Do you believe, as this viewer suggests, that the only people pushing for a Craigslist “crackdown” are “moralist bible-thumpers”? Should the Internet be more heavily regulated on sites that offer adult entertainment?

Filed under: We Listen
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Bernice

    Look.. I will put it this way! I lived in TX for 8 years and left TX to head back home because of the serious injustice in the system! I was, along with a friend, brutally raped and mutalated by a black gang, while strolling down the beach. The perps of this crime shoved a pipe down my throat causing major damage where I was hospitalized and they were searching for my next of kin. My friend had to be life flighted to Tibido, LA for his medical treatment. He had to have major plastic surgery to replace his face, for the perps cut his face off! I carried his lifeless body to the seawall and dropped him in the middle of the highway! The medical staff was great! The police however, seemed to handle things alot differently! I was brought into the police station after I survived and was released from the hospital where I was asked to look at a book to see if I could identify the men. I DID! I pointed out the leader of the gang and told them his nickname, and I was right! I went home and awaited a call to identify them from a line up. When the call finally came, I was told that they could not arrest the thugs at that time, because they were under investigation for another crime at that moment. They were involved in drugs and the police dept was within a hair of solving that case! Well, what were we? Chopped liver? The rape and attempted murders of myself and a close friend went unpunished! They were never even asked if they did it! While in TX, I worked for a restraunt/lounge where the courthouse employees would come to after work, to participate in "happy hour". I was a coctail waitress at that lounge. I had to stand there every day that I worked and hear a head courthouse judge (appearantly still fighting the civil war) and hear this mans hatred towards YANKEES! It did not matter to him what thier color was! I know for a fact that a man was put into a TX jail because he placed the US flag above the TX flag1 This judge sent the man to prison for 6 months!!!! Just for being a YANKEE! The judge called him a GD YANKEE! said "he didn't have the common sence to go home!! Somewhere justice has to be fixed in that state! There really was none when I was there, and I can totally believe that these acts are happening They are mean...and in need of re-teaching. By the way, the original crime that the man did who went to jail for the flag ...he was on the beach where he got robbed. They stole his car, his money, and everything that this man had. He just purchased 2 which he made a tent out of for survival. He put the US flag overlapping the TX flag......6 months! Poor Yankee! I do pray that this judge is NO LONGER practicing legal employment. DO SOMETHING!

    May 7, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  2. Jane

    Well, this is THE most disgusting thing, this DA along with the predators should be serving time in prison. This is called vast blatant abuse of power. I would strip this town of every asset that was directly stolen from people that had been predatorized by these horrifying individuals. Every judge in this town should be disbarred and revoked from any law practice.
    Often I hear of police dying in line of duty, I used to feel sadness and remorse for the familes. Then, I hear of Texas and New Orleans police being so corrupt, takes away any sadness and concern when I hear of this relenting abuse of power. They have a Taliban in Texas. I love sending this stuff to my daughter in law in another country, it gets printed. As to anyone that wishes to come to the U.S is obliviated, as to any American dream. Too many neaderthals living in Texas, no wonder they voted in that idiot Bush guy.. Horrifying.
    Follow up on that story CNN how that judge gets paid for sentencing young men in his court, What was it? $60.000 per head? Young flesh, and paid by some jails that make Big bucks incarcarating young men?

    May 6, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  3. Jason

    Shame on you JAMES, and THANKS CNN for breaking this newsworthy story. Mr. James you may be an intelligent man, but I can not tell from your comment. Do you not know that while everyone has their eyes on TEXAS'- front-line border war, drug war, constant wave of illegal immigrants, and SWINE FLU, that is when crooks crawl from under their rocks and do their dirty deeds. Stealing peoples money is a crime you know. The DA, The MAYOR and everyone in the sheriff office who participated should go to prison. Yes, they are going to say they were doing their jobs but have some morals people. RIGHT IS RIGHT and WRONG IS STILL WRONG.

    May 6, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  4. Kathleen Thornton

    The Texas Highway Patrol is law enforcement agency that has many good patrolmen & women who do their jobs well with honesty. I've lived in Texas for 10 years & have dealt with them at times when I was driving over the speed limit. Whether I received a ticket or not, the officers were always polite, professional & expressed concern about driving too fast. Four years ago I was in a serious auto accident & will always remember their care & support of everyone involved. However, there is a problem of speed traps in small towns in Texas. I live outside of a town that has a population of 508 with 3 police officers. These officers would set up radar at each end of town which encompasses, at best, one-half mile. Many cars & 18 wheelers pass through on their way to & from the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex and, needless to say, many of them get pulled over. I believe that needed revenue in small towns is the biggest reason speed traps still exist. But don't lump all law enforcement officers as corrupt. The majority are not. I have many relatives serving in various positions in the law enforcement community now including my father. I am proud of them as well as those who are no longer us. It's a dangerous job, and it takes dedication to serve & protect. And as for Craigslist, the only 'policing' that needs to be done is by the people posting on it. there are alot of dangerous people out there who will do you harm. So, why would you give them a map & keys to your home? No. We have enough 'moral police' in this country. And what's so surprising about those who want the Government to crack down on the internet are the same people who yell loudly about having too many Government regulations! Good Grief! You can't have it both ways folks!

    May 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm |