Tom Coleman arrested 46 people in Texas on drug selling charges, with no audio evidence, no video surveillance evidence, and no drug evidence.
Some who were convicted received sentences over 100 years.
The Attorney General of Texas named him outstanding officer of the year.
The money paid to Coleman came from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the “War on drugs” campaign.
Coleman built cases and made arrests for 18 months in the late 1990s as part of a Texas drug task force.
This later cost $6 million in a civil rights lawsuit settlement against Coleman, 26 counties, and three cities involved with the drug task force.
Here is where it gets wacky
Most of the people arrested were black.
Coleman, who doesn’t consider himself a racist, was quoted stating that the “N” word for him was a common greeting.
His arrests all came with harsh sentences even though there was no cocaine found, no drug paraphernalia, no weapons, no money, or any other signs of drug dealing. There was no wire, he had no partner to corroborate his testimony, collected no fingerprint evidence and had no surveillance video or still images to prove guilt.
It gets really bad when you look at some of the cases:
- One person was time clocked at work when Coleman testified they were selling him cocaine.
- One was at a fair 50 miles away at the time Coleman said he sold him drugs.
- One was identified by Coleman in the report as a tall black man with bushy hair but the man Coleman arrested was 5 foot 7 and bald.
- One was arrested for selling Coleman cocaine in Tulia but was in a bank in Oklahoma City at the time.
But it gets even worse
Police officers he had formerly worked for said he needed constant supervision and had possible mental problems and should not be in law enforcement.
In the middle of Coleman’s undercover investigation the sheriff arrested him on charges of stealing from a county where he had previously worked but he was still permitted to continue his undercover operation in Tulia.