Black and White

Good ol’ boys prosper at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Many African-Americans don’t.

Even worse is the shame in acknowledging that she was fired. She got an alumni questionnaire from St. Thomas, asking for an update on her career. She was too embarrassed to reply. When she sees sheriff's deputies at the store, she ducks. She knows what happened wasn't her fault, but she never gets the chance to explain that, to make people understand.

She wipes away tears when she talks about it. She's tough, but the unfairness of it chafes at her. The stress almost destroyed her marriage; she and her husband, Ray, spent "two days in church," she says, working to repair the damage.

She thinks back to the day of her promotion. "It seemed to show the sheriff's department was moving in the right direction," she says. But after decades of racial strife and a system that seems to show no interest in policing itself, she should have known it couldn't be that easy.

Former nursing supervisor Alston says she was fired 
for disciplining white workers.
Daniel Kramer
Former nursing supervisor Alston says she was fired for disciplining white workers.
Amboree, fired in 2001, was a vocal critic as president 
of the Afro-American Sheriff's Deputy League.
Daniel Kramer
Amboree, fired in 2001, was a vocal critic as president of the Afro-American Sheriff's Deputy League.

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