Amazed by His Own Lies


In Tulia, Texas, where one-tenth of the black population was arrested for drug dealing on the questionable say-so of undercover cop Thomas Coleman, the truth seems to be gradually emerging. In some cases, The New York Times notes, Coleman's lies were revealed early on.

Tonya White was able to find bank records to show that she was in Oklahoma when Mr. Coleman swore he had bought drugs from her in Tulia. Billy Wafer produced timecards showing he had been at work when Mr. Coleman said he had been selling drugs. Yul Bryant defended himself by pointing out that he could not be the tall black man "with bushy type hair" described in Mr. Coleman's report. Mr. Bryant based this on the fact that he is short and balding.

In other cases, defendants sentended to prison are seeking to have their convictions overturned. Asked about the reliability of his testimony in a civil case stemming from one arrest, Coleman confessed:

"That can be questionable….I mean, I have read over my testimony, and some of that stuff in there is, like, totally out in left field."