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SPetty
03-11-2004, 10:19 AM
from
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/031104dntextulia.cb21.html
(I think you have to register to see it...)


$5 million settlement reached in Tulia lawsuit
07:33 AM CST on Thursday, March 11, 2004
Associated Press


A $5 million settlement for Tulia residents targeted in a now-discredited drug bust many said was racially motivated will also end the narcotics task force that ran the sting, an attorney for the plaintiffs says.

The agreement with the city of Amarillo would disband the multi-agency task force that oversaw the sting's undercover agent, Tom Coleman, who is white, attorney Jeff Blackburn told The Associated Press late Wednesday. Details were to be released Thursday in a news conference in Amarillo.

Vanita Gupta, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund who also represents the plaintiffs, commended the city of Amarillo for doing the right thing.

"It's not simply that Tom Coleman was a rogue officer," she said. "The city of Amarillo has recognized that federally funded task forces are ineffective tools of law enforcement and they operate as rogue task forces because they are unaccountable to any oversight mechanism."

Though the settlement involves a civil rights lawsuit filed last summer by two women whose drug charges were dropped after they provided alibis, all but one of the 46 arrested will receive some portion of the money. One defendant died before going to trial and is not included in the settlement, Blackburn said.

A claims administrator will determine how the funds will be apportioned.

Marcus Norris, city attorney in Amarillo, could not be reached for comment early Thursday.

On July 23, 1999, 44 people -- 37 of whom were black -- were arrested in the busts, which civil rights groups claimed were racially motivated. Coleman worked alone for 18 months and used no audio or video surveillance. Little or no corroborating evidence was introduced during the trials.

Some of the first defendants to go to trial received lengthy sentences, one as much as 90 years. The long sentences prompted other defendants to take plea agreements for lesser terms out of fear of lengthy sentences at trial.

The women who filed the lawsuit, Zuri Bossett and Tonya White, had warrants for their arrest on the day of the sweep but were not in Tulia. They were arrested later but had their charges dismissed in 2002.

Mediation is ongoing with others named in the lawsuit -- 26 counties and three cities that were involved with the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force.

The cases cast an often-unflattering light on the farming town of about 5,000 between Lubbock and Amarillo on the High Plains. Amarillo saw an "injustice" and wanted to right it, Blackburn said.

"The action of the city settling shows a leadership by a city in the Texas Panhandle that few would have expected," he said.

The women's lawsuit accused the counties and cities involved in the task force of violating the women's constitutional rights and directing racial bias against Tulia's black population.

Charges against Bossett were dropped in July 2002 after prosecutors and defense attorneys reached an agreement.

White's charges were dropped in April 2002 after she produced a bank deposit slip with her signature that proved she was in Oklahoma when Coleman alleged he sold drugs to her.

The women's suit was filed Aug. 22, the same day Gov. Rick Perry pardoned 35 prosecuted in the Tulia cases.

Following evidentiary hearings in which a judge pronounced Coleman "simply not a credible witness under oath," Swisher County officials approved a $250,000 settlement for those imprisoned on Coleman's word. In exchange, those defendants promised not to sue the county. Bossett and White did not receive any of the settlement because their charges had been dropped.

Coleman is scheduled to stand trial May 24 on perjury charges related to testimony he gave during evidentiary hearings in March 2003.

Wally_in_Cincy
03-11-2004, 10:33 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr>
...Coleman is scheduled to stand trial May 24 on perjury charges related to testimony he gave during evidentiary hearings in March 2003.
<hr /></blockquote>

I hope they hammer his ass with some serious time. Nothing worse than a rogue cop. There has to be a penalty for ruining peoples' lives.

SpiderMan
03-11-2004, 10:49 AM
Something doesn't add up there. Plaintiffs received $250,000 in exchange for an agreement not to sue, then sued for millions?

SpiderMan

eg8r
03-11-2004, 03:37 PM
I had never even heard about this till Q was asking me about it. I am glad it is getting tossed out and Coleman is going to trial.

eg8r &lt;~~Still has no idea how Q thought this was Bush's fault

Wally_in_Cincy
03-13-2004, 08:11 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eg8r:</font><hr> ...eg8r &lt;~~Still has no idea how Q thought this was Bush's fault <hr /></blockquote>

That's nothing. Paul Begala blamed Bush for what happened in Jasper TX and also the death of Matthew Shephard.

Qtec
03-13-2004, 11:44 AM
I never said it was GW,s fault. As usual, you are wrong.

All I said was that a great injustice had been done. Thats all.

Q

eg8r
03-13-2004, 10:19 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I never said it was GW,s fault. As usual, you are wrong.

All I said was that a great injustice had been done. Thats all.
<hr /></blockquote> No you were never to stupid to actually type that, it was your loudspeaker implications that said it. I think the first time you brought it up was in one of your Bush bashing threads.

By any chance, were you going to comment on this thread, since you took the time out to try and correct me. Surely you are not too busy, to address the real point of this thread.

eg8r