May 5th, 2009
05:03 PM ET

Texas police shake down drivers, lawsuit claims

Program Note: Tune in tonight for Gary Tuchman's full report on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/05/05/texas.police.seizures/art.daniels.cnn.jpg caption="Roderick Daniels of Tennessee says a Texas police officer tried on his jewelry in front of him."]

Gary Tuchman and Katherine Wojtecki

Roderick Daniels was traveling through East Texas in October 2007 when, he says, he was the victim of a highway robbery.

The Tennessee man says he was ordered to pull his car over and surrender his jewelry and $8,500 in cash that he had with him to buy a new car.

But Daniels couldn't go to the police to report the incident.

The men who stopped him were the police.

Daniels was stopped on U.S. Highway 59 outside Tenaha, near the Louisiana state line. Police said he was driving 37 mph in a 35 mph zone. They hauled him off to jail and threatened him with money-laundering charges - but offered to release him if he signed papers forfeiting his property.

"I actually thought this was a joke," Daniels told CNN.

But he signed.

"To be honest, I was five, six hundred miles from home," he said. "I was petrified."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gary Tuchman
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Will Dudley

    It's not simply that they are thieves; they are predators, and stupid ones to boot. From what I heard, District Attorney Lynda Russell can't sing, but I bet she thinks she can tap dance. She and deputy Marshal Washington look to me like little people in positions of power doing hurtful things to the unsuspecting, and need to hear from the general public about this.
    Her home address is in Center, Texas, at 500 Pine St. Some mail to the arrogant attorney expressing an opinion on this matter is my suggestion.

    May 6, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  2. Kasey Massey

    Thanks for doing the story on Barry Washington in Tenaha. While he was a Highway Patrol for that area, he pulled me over for not turning on my signal long enough before turning off US 59 into a truck stop parking lot. He approached my car with a ticket book and told me if I would call the number on the back of the ticket he would be a lot nicer next time he got behind my car. The number was his home phone number. I made a complaint with the Panola County Justice office but nothing was ever done . I have been told by others that I wasn't the only one approached in this manner. This guy needs to be stopped.

    May 6, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  3. Qui-Tam Relatir

    Does this surprise anyone! This was a given when our Police Departments in the United States took off their Police Car's. "TO PROTECT AND SERVE". Miss Russell and the Mayor and all of the Police Officers that wete involved should go to JAIL for a long
    time! And an example should be set for other Police Departments around America. Thank you CNN for allowing this on your news station. A notice to all Police Departments around America, "You Are Not Above The Law" !

    May 6, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  4. Melissa

    Unfortunately, this isn't the first time I've heard this from this area of the country. It needs to stop. Now.

    May 6, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  5. stosh

    I am a trucker. In state of LA. small towns i was accused of improper lane change and accused of stopped on railroad crossing. i told the officer i change lanes then stopped before the tracks. And he respond he did not like that answer to give him one he likes or i get a bad ticket. Then a week or so later in another town i stop to make a left turn. when i started turn i heard a siren. he was on my bumper. came up ask for lic. and reg. then look at the front of the truck plate, chat with his neice, then wrote my ticket for running a stop sign. not once he told me what he stopped me for. those two tickets made it hard to find steady work as a driver. white guy in a small black town wearing a rebel hat. 6 hrs from the house they know you wont show up to court unless you miss work for a few days. that robbery of truckers. email me if you like names and towns.


    May 6, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  6. bt

    My Dad, a Major and Military Police officer, warned me about this conduct 40 years ago with civilian police. It is old news and very common proceedure. The town needs some damage control.

    May 6, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  7. Vasilisa C. Hamilton

    I saw Gary Touchman's piece on "AC 360" last night. What the district attorney and the police department are doing gives new meaning to the term "highway robbery." Thanks for shedding light on this miscarriage of justice.


    Vasilisa C. Hamilton, Columbia, S.C.

    May 6, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  8. Dolores, Austin Texas

    Morning Anderson,

    I loved your show last night. These people from Tenaha, these so called public servant's ought to be ashamed of themselves, they’ve given Texas a bad name. But of course George Bush didn't help matters any. It's a shame that the police officer involved targeted his own people. But isn't that the way it always works? Shame on you. I hope that justice doesn’t disappoint these people. I hope that the DA loses her license to practice law. I hope that their all convicted and these good people get there money and possessions back. I'm very proud to be a Texan, but not all Texans are ignorant redneck buffoons. I'm looking forward to your show tonight.

    May 6, 2009 at 8:52 am |

    SO, what's new? Texan BUBBAs are 'this close' [pointing two very close fingers from same hand] to Mexico, where such actions are not only sanctioned by 'El Federales' – but expected!

    May 6, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  10. matthew and clay

    This is just like what is going on in Texas with the police and D.A. its happening in North Carolina with caswell co. sheriff dept. and D.A.

    I Matthew Coles was pulled over for speeding they never asked for driver licsen never got a speeding ticket they made us get out and lean against the car search us for an hour then they put K-9 in car didn't fine nothing Then they put hand cuff on us and sent us to be strip search didn't fine nothing. I Clay Kilbourn was 15 yrs.old and they strip search me with out my parents consent. they come in saying they found some thing didn't ask who's it belong to they charge Matthew Coles for it and took his car and took his money put him in jail and on probation what happen to me why i didn't have to show up for court They called social service. Social service had me go to the health dept. and take a pregnancy test then they came to my scholl harassimg me and they came to my house i been trying to get answers for the past five yrs. we filled out about 4 complaint forms haven't heard from none of them now the sheriff said if i didn't get charged how can he look it up how can they charge matthew coles if they didn't charge me i talk to the D.A. and he told me to leave it alone. I talk to sheriff Micheal Welch he set appointment to talk to me on 4-30-09 at 3:00 pm and bring any papers i got. I went in and they tol me Micheal Welch was out of town so i talk to the captian of the sheriff dept. he told me to fill out another complaint from and have it notorize and bring it back i did on 5-4-09 and still no one has contacted me yet. They said the justice dept. is sopposed to check in to problems like this. we got papers to prove it.

    Thank you

    clay kilbourn


    Matthew coles

    May 6, 2009 at 8:25 am |