Tulia Drug Sting Defendants Get $5 Million

The defendants in the Tulia, Texas drug sting will share a $5 million settlement.

The agreement with the city of Amarillo, announced Wednesday, was cheered by the NAACP and attorneys representing people who were snared in the Texas Panhandle town of Tulia by Tom Coleman, the task force's only undercover agent.

Attorneys said it was not just a victory for the 46 people arrested in 1999 - most of whom are black - but also a blow to law-enforcement task forces that they allege allow police misconduct to go unchecked.

"It's not simply that Tom Coleman was a rogue officer," said Vanita Gupta, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund who also represents the plaintiffs. "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."

You can access all of our Tulia coverage here.

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