Jack Queen, 21 April 2021
Vanita Gupta was fresh out of law school when she heard about what happened in Tulia, Texas. Two years earlier, in 1999, nearly half of the town’s adult Black population was rounded up in a drug sting on the word of a single undercover cop, accused of selling him small amounts of cocaine. Several convictions swiftly followed, accompanied by sentences of up to 361 years. The remaining defendants, 43 of whom were people of color, started pleading guilty.
Gupta, weeks into a job at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York, sensed something was amiss. She flew down to Texas, where families shared the humiliation of seeing loved ones marched through the streets handcuffed and half-clothed, with a local newspaper later declaring, “Tulia’s Streets Cleared of Garbage.” Documents in the Swisher County courthouse told a remarkable story as well. Gupta, then 26, stuffed a suitcase full of copies and flew back to New York to pitch her bosses. Continue reading “Article: DOJ’s New No. 3 Faces Delicate Balancing Act”