Press Releases

Justice Gone Awry Documentary Screened at MPTV Community Cinema

January 1, 2009

Milwaukee, WI -- MPTV Community Cinema presents TULIA, TEXAS, a new documentary, by Cassandra Herrman and Kelly Whalen that tells a powerful story of justice gone awry on Thursday, January 8th, at 7:00 p.m., at Discovery World Innovation Theatre, 500 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee. A discussion of the film, led by AM620 WTMJ radio host Jeff Wagner, will follow the film.

Narcotics agent Tom Coleman was hired to work undercover in a now-infamous drug sting operation in Tulia, Texas, as part of the nation's "war on drugs." In 1999, Coleman executed one of the biggest drug busts in Texas history; in one day, dozens of residents of the small town had been arrested. Thirty-nine of the 46 people accused of selling drugs to Coleman were African American. Named "Texas Lawman of the Year" for his investigation, Coleman's arrests led to quick trials and severe sentences. But it soon became clear that there was more to Coleman than met the eye, and revelations came forward calling into question many of the arrests.

Told through interviews with the accused, Coleman, and the police officers, jurors, lawyers, families and activists involved, TULIA, TEXAS takes viewers from the personal to the political and back again. The film explores how one part of the community consented to systematic prejudice while another was unwilling to sit back quietly as their neighbors were victimized by one overzealous rogue drug agent and the culture that celebrated him. TULIA, TEXAS tells the story of a small town's search for justice and explores how the war on drugs actually plays out in communities across the country.

MPTV Community Cinema is a monthly film screening series showcasing selected documentaries from the award-winning PBS series, INDEPENDENT LENS, and local documentary features produced by Milwaukee Public Television. Attendance at this monthly series is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Darlyne Haertlein, MPTV Community Relations at (414) 297-7518.

Since its inception, MPTV has educated, entertained and inspired. Today, MPTV offers viewers a family of channels to choose from, including 11 analog and digital channels, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. MPTV is a viewer-supported service of Milwaukee Area Technical College.