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Undercover officer perjury

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Convicts to be freed after officer is charged with perjury
Sunday, June15, 2003, 10:42 PM

Tulia, Texas-AP -- Nearly four years ago, dozens of residents of Tulia, Texas, were arrested on drug charges.

Thirty-eight were convicted or pleaded guilty on the uncorroborated testimony of an undercover officer; eight cases never went to trial. Now the officer is charged with perjury, and 13 people still in prison are expected to be freed tomorrow.

Civil rights advocates say the arrests were racially motivated. Of the 46 people arrested, 39 were black. The officer, Tom Coleman, is white. Coleman claimed he bought drugs from the defendants, but he worked alone and made no audio or videotapes. No drugs were ever found.

Mattie White is going to see two of her children freed. A third is already on parole. She says she used to go off and cry alone, but now everyone's prayers are being answered.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Inmates released tells despair { June 17 2003 }
Tainted evidence to free 13 prisoners { June 16 2003 }
Texas jailed improperly
Tulia texas inmates freed { June 17 2003 }
Undercover officer perjury

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