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Petition Calls for Obama to Pardon Kwame Kilpatrick’s ‘Excessive’ 28-Year Sentence

Kwame Kilpatrick (Twitter)

Kwame Kilpatrick (Twitter)

A petition is urging President Barack Obama to pardon former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s 28-year prison sentence.

Launched in July by a group referring to itself as The People for the Release of Kwame Kilpatrick, the petition has now garnered over 23,000 supporters. Its goal is to earn 25,000 signatures to send the document to the White House.

Addressed to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, an accompanying letter deemed Kilpatrick’s sentence extreme.

“I believe he should pay for his wrong doings but 28 years in prison is just too excessive. Prior to you Mr. Obama, I had not believed a Black man could be President until I saw how Kwame galvanized the City of Detroit,” the writer shared. “And without his mistakes, the sky could have been the limit for him. He gave the city hope again, brought investments in and he truly did make a positive impact in a community that had been headed for destruction since the 50s because [of] labor costs, white flight and the decline of the Big 3 automotive companies.”

However, Kilpatrick’s misspending threw a wrench in the city’s once-positive view of him.

In 2013, Atlanta Black Star reported a federal judge sentenced Kilpatrick to 28 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of corruption charges. Extortion and racketeering were also included in the findings. Each of those can equate to a combined 40 years in prison, at most. During the trial, the prosecution argued Kilpatrick forwarded contracts totaling $127 million from the mayor’s office to contractor Bobby Ferguson, who was his friend.

Still, the letter demands Kilpatrick should not be allowed to “rot away in prison.”

“Instead, he could be released and given the opportunity to work for the State and City government,” the writer said. In that way, the fallen mayor will be able to inform budding politicians about “the slippery slope of corruption.”

Elsewhere in the message, the writer mentions Kilpatrick’s family is suffering because of his imprisonment. In 2015, The Detroit News reported the Internal Revenue Service investigated records of the family’s homes and their bank accounts. Kilpatrick’s lawyer said the IRS attempted to see if more income tax needed to be evaluated.

In summary, the message recalled Obama pardoning hundreds of federal inmates, many of whom were arrested for drug crimes.

“There are too many Black men in prison to date,” the note concluded. “Many [of whom, if they] were released, may or may not make an impact. Let’s not keep a GOOD one in there for 28 years. Kwame can make an impact on SO many people the day he walks out of prison.”

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