May 5th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 05/05/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on AC360°, stunning allegations of highway robbery in a small Texas town. Dozens of drivers claim they've been held up for cash, cars and jewelry. Even more shocking is who some victims are blaming – the police who deny the accusations against them.

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on Gary Tuchman's report during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (376 Responses)
  1. Maria Pisano

    A bunch of bully's..... .clean this mess up, it's clearly a corrupt town.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  2. Joel

    I relocated to East Texas and have traveled through Tenaha on many occasions with an out of state tag before I registered my vehicle in Texas. I was pulled over by the officer you have shown on your program. He actually asked me to state my business without telling me why I was pulled over. When I explained to him what I was doing and the location of where I was now employed. He told me to have a good day and drive safe. I have always wondered why I got pulled over, now I know.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  3. Lauren--NY

    Erica, that's a very nice behind-the-scenes anecdote. Thank you!

    Congressman Ackerman makes me proud to be from New York. That is one cool guy.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  4. jane MI

    Good evening everyone,

    Re:Highway robbery Great story undercovering!!! Way to go Gary!!!
    There sure seems to be enough incriminating evidence that was brought
    forth...Hope your media coverage/increased awareness of this will help
    curb it till those involved brought to justice...

    May 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Marina

    The Tenaha, TX story doesn't surprise me. My family and I live in a small Texas town and have had similar instances of police idiocy – for example, getting pulled over for waving! Small minds with not much to do.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  6. Michelle

    The judge who had a role in writing the torture memos
    should be impeached.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  7. Gillian

    This is so wrong. There used to be some old boy out in Texarkana who'd tell you that you could pay him straight out for "speeding". Last I heard, he was spending a couple years in the pen. That sounds about right.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  8. Geoff

    Please, follow up on the Highway Robbery story as it develops. it seems just unthinkable that the events described are happening. It makes Texas look like a lawless land run by selfish cops.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Ev

    That is just amazing this story out of texas is just too much to comprehend it s crazy..go after those people..i feel so bad for the victims

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  10. Sandra Robertson, GA

    Good evening Anderson and Erica. Gary, this story is so sad; shame on Texas police.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  11. Gary Utter

    What's going on in Tehana, TX sounds like a monumental extortion racket! All the participants belong in jail! I wonder if the Texas Attorney General has been contacted. If not, he/she should be! Criminal action must be taken!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Gary Tuchman always does an amazing job and that story was no exception! Incredible! 🙂 That Jeff Toobin is so sweet!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  13. Jeanie

    My husband and I both are born and raised in Texas. He's black and I'm Irish (pale white and red hair). I'm afraid to travel through some of the tiny towns in Texas (several have bad reputations). It's sad that with all the awakening and growth our country has achieved, that we still have backwoods country folks who think they still live in the Republic of Texas. What a shame.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  14. Steve Holcombe

    Haven't read previous comments. I'm an attorney. A former prosecutor. Even ran for District Attorney Office in Oklahoma several years ago. Here's the issue that needs to be focused on. The standards for forfeiture are different (less onerous) than the standards for criminal conviction. This provides an opportunity for abuse by unscrupulous law enforcement officials. And is a legalized means for corruption.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  15. Staci Taylor Midland TX

    This is the first time ever I have blogged, and boy what a night to start! Great story and I'm glad that CNN has choose to air it!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  16. Fred Hawkins

    This is rampant in Texas where I live. Alto Texas a few hours from Tenaha is very similar! I received a speeding ticket for 70 in a 55. The Speed Limit was 70 and was reducing to 55. I had not reached the 55 sign yet. In fact. Where I was stopped on the shoulder was at the 55mph sign. I plead not guilty. The fine was $150. But you have to pay $200 to plead not guilty. I sent a check to plead not guilty. No place to go in person. Just a PO Box. My check was returned a week later and a note saying the case was dismissed. Just a Racket! Go investigate Alto Texas Next!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  17. RGM

    This story doesnt suprise me at all. I live just north of Teneha (Tinny-haw) in Carthage were HWY 59 circles our town, Barry Washington used to work here in our county, I wonder if the same thing occured here?

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  18. Bhanu

    If things like these continue to happen Texas will be no different from a Third World Country. Hope I never will travel through that Crazy Town!!!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  19. Melisa

    I hope she enjoyed her BBQ and her Dum Dums and her Popcorn machine cause she needs to go in an 8×8 cell since she is robbing people.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  20. Rick Hughes

    Tenaha, Tx crooks:
    This story strikes anger in me. They need to throw these crooks under the Jail. (including that big black police officer.)

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  21. Michael Nichols

    Having lived in Texas years ago...it doesn't surprise me at all. I once had a Houston cop tell me that "He got paid to enforce the law, not to obey it."

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  22. Samantha M.

    Yea, improper cop acts should be uncovered more. Where i'm from its all too common for drugs and illegal fireworks to b sold by cops. The fact that these TX cops r finding loopholes to make it legal is disturbing.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  23. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    this story is stunning
    I agree, Anderson!!!!!! I am really furious at DA for damaged fraud!I hope she will be found guilty!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  24. Isabel

    @ Anderson Cooper

    The police should protect. We must have confidence in the police!

    I think that talking is much better in control of corruption than in order, because there is an institution free from the risk of any of its members fall into the temptation of corruption.

    The cops should be punished, but even so it is best to avoid the corruption that happens than running behind and trying to catch the "thief" after the thing has happened

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  25. Owen

    if this is as it appears, these government officials, i.e. sheriff's and district attorney need the full force of the law brought to bear on them. Please do follow up, this is disgusting.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  26. Sametria - Dallas, Tx

    this is another reason why i am sometimes so ashamed to be a native texan!!! these injustices have to stop!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  27. Jana, Indiana

    Anderson, you are right, that was great reporting by Gary. That story is unbelieveable. Gary did a great job trying to get the District Attorney to talk to him.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  28. femfem

    Is this United States Of America or Africa?

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  29. Krasi, Houston, TX

    The current economy should never be an excuse for such a behaviour coming from law enforcement officers. Especially when the money is spent on ridiculous purchases.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  30. Mehul Patel

    Those cops are outrageous! They should be suspended and prosecuted and thrown in jail for targetting minorities. President Obama should get involved and put those cops out of a job.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  31. Tim Burks

    I think they need to start arresting the crooks that call themselfs the law.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  32. Erica, kcmo

    Its absolutely rediculous that the very ppl we turn to for protection are the very ones that we need protection from.

    Hello Anderson and everyone at 360 love watching you guys.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  33. ericacnn

    such an amazing story from gary – jeff just said to him, "i'm very proud to be a part of it"

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  34. Edwin Gale

    Law enforcment, this is truly a great money maker

    May 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  35. Shiva

    It's horrible that these officers are harassing the people by telling them their children will be taken away. This story deserves all the attention it gets.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  36. David

    Hello, my name is David, I am a trucker who has traveled through those states, especially Texas and Louisiana. This is nothing new and it amazes me that it has finally gotten airwaves lately.

    Tehana, Texas isn't the only city, its happening in the Shreveport area, exit 8 truck inspection facility. I was harrased with the same phrase used by the Officers in the recent news.

    Its not only happening in those states, but in Las Vegas and Arizona.

    I reasoned with the Officer in Louisiana at the border and Las Vegas. I simply told them if you take my truck or my money you either take me to jail or kill me.

    They let me go.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  37. john gutierrez

    this is happening across texas –check junction, texas
    i am sure you will receive more stories

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  38. Michelle

    Great job Gary Tuchman. That is an incredible story.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  39. John, Pennsylvania

    Heard part of this story this morning on CNN radio. Sounds like a real hick racist town. I'm certain there are plenty of stories similar in America that don't get brought to light enough. I don't think this is common in law enforcement, however in a racist town if the law is on board and local government officials are as well, anything is possible. The real problem is the underlying racism that continues to exist in this country. How sad.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  40. Shirley Trevino

    It is time for someone outside of this small town to intervene and conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation of this travesty of justice. All involved should be arrested for criminal prosecution–they need to be stopped from targeting Latinos. This is one Latina who is mighty upset.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  41. Anthonia-California

    @IAN- Im 16 years old almost 17, and i find this news very fanisnating to watch, and to see how these officers are robbing innocent drivers on the highway, and i agree with you, i do this its the economy and its issues causing people to go nuts!!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  42. Sandy

    Absolutely outrageous!! I have always believed that in this country bribery is excercised similar as excercised in corrupt countries but the law is used as the cover up!!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  43. Douglas

    Is this a suprise? Law enforcement in small town america practices their own law regularly, I have personaly seen some very atrocious behavior, its business as usual. I hope you guys catch and prosecute them all. Good work, keep it up.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  44. Melisa

    This crazy in Texas, They are robbing people . Fedral agency needs to step in and tell the country singer da , to actually stick to one job.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  45. starr formerly known as vincent


    That's what i meant when i said that we don't know the specific laws that they are using. (they are giving out receipts.)

    I really, really hope that these people WIN their money back! (I imagine their personal jewelry is long gone.)

    As the panel discussion reveals, this certainly does look like a coordinated operation! Unfortunately, this really does cast a dark shadow on all of law enforcement.

    TERRIC report!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  46. steve mcleod

    Thank-you CNN for doing this story!

    The police cannot legally confiscate monies and valuables without evidence of a crime. Complaints have been filed with Gov. Perry and AG Abbott. Mayor Bowers and DA Russell needs to resign now. If the State of Texas doesn't step in – the public needs to ask the USDOJ to investigate. This is theft, extortion and discrimination under the color of law. Unbelievable!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  47. Marco

    This is out of mind.....So what is next??? I think that you should check every single state.... How you can trust anybody!!!!!! in Law enforcment.. I think the is not check and balance and that is reason why Law enforcment don't work well..


    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  48. Peggy

    Low security lockup in the general population might be justice.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  49. Danielle

    I used to go to church with Barry Washington when he worked in Carthage, TX. It was always "rumored" that Barry is extremely prejudice even though he is African-American himself. This is totally not surprising.

    May 5, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  50. Naissa, Deep in the HEART of Texas

    @Jack from Toronto-LOL, we're not ALL like that. Honest!

    May 5, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
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