Pubdate: Sun, 28 Sep 2003
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Page: A18
Copyright: 2003 The Washington Post Company
Author: Associated Press
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LUBBOCK, Tex., Sept. 27 - A former undercover agent who faces perjury
charges related to his part in the racially charged drug busts in
Tulia says he is proud of what he did and is no racist, despite using
a racial epithet "a lot."

The epithet is "common slang" and "a greeting," Tom Coleman tells
CBS's "60 Minutes" journalist Ed Bradley in Sunday's telecast.

But he tells Bradley, who is black, that he would not use the racial
slur with him. "Oh, no sir, not you," Coleman says, according to a
news release from the show.

Thirty-eight people, almost all of them black, were convicted on
Coleman's testimony after the 1999 drug busts in Tulia, a Texas
Panhandle town of about 5,100 residents 70 miles north of Lubbock.
Authorities found no drugs or money during the 46 arrests there.

Last month, Gov. Rick Perry (R) granted pardons to 35 of those
convicted. Civil rights groups allege the arrests were racially
motivated. Coleman is white.

The interview, conducted at Coleman's home this summer, has drawn the
interest of the special prosecutor in his perjury case. Rod Hobson
said Friday he plans to seek a subpoena for the entire interview -
not just what is aired - as possible evidence.

Coleman, 44 and no longer in law enforcement, was indicted in April
after testimony he gave at post-trial hearings this spring. He has
been interviewed at least twice before, with an Amarillo television
station and the BBC.

"He did nothing inappropriate, and we'll prove that," Coleman's
attorney, John H. Read II, said.

In the interview, Coleman said he stands behind his work. "I didn't
intentionally target anyone in Tulia. It turned out that way. It's
just where the road led me." 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake