Yesterday, the disgraced mayor of my hometown was sentenced to 28 years behind bars after being convicted of 24 counts ranging from extortion to racketeering in a case that received nationwide attention for the past few years. I watched social media like a hawk to see who would first break the news on the actual time he would spend in federal prison and after the sentence was handed out, I was disappointed with the outrage of my peers over the time he is supposed to serve.
Some people compared his sentence to rapists, murderers and other criminals that commit for personal and heinous offenses and receive less time in jail. Some compared his sentence to other offenders like Tom DeLay, Oliver North that received notably light sentences for their offenses. Others had the audacity to make his punishment analogous to lynching (which involved the brutal beatings, castrations, hanging and often burning of black people that were punished for being black in America and breathing air).
After the sentence, I became disappointed myself and not in the judges “harsh” punishment, but the rallying behind Kwame on him being punished for being black.
As if he Kwame himself had some allegiance toward any of these black Detroiters when he, his friends and business associates profited off of the tax dollars that hard working older people earned and sacrificed for sub-par city services.
Did Kwame have your back when he mismanaged millions of dollars that seniors living on a fixed incomes paid on homes they worked their lives for? Did he have their backs or yours when he rode around the city with the police that refused to answer your calls during robberies committed by people that actually had no money were committing in your homes? Did he have your back when you went to a school system that was operating in the red with mass fraud and massive contracts handed to his friends in back deals and you couldn’t get a new book?
I pose these questions in more than a rhetorical sense because I would really like an answer. Sure he wasn’t the sole reason the city went broke and neither was Coleman Young, the Free Press analyzed that beautifully here, but he didn’t do much to improve the situation.
My biggest issue with Kwame was the fact that he had it all. He was young, intelligent, charismatic, had a great family name backing him and he threw it all away with arrogance, greed and ignorance. Even when he was indicted and on trial, he’d walk into court laughing and had the audacity to say that “no jury would find him guilty”. He had no shame or remorse. He deserved to be found guilty. If he was really being “controlled” by larger forces than him, he should’ve cooperating with authorities and brought them down with him, but his arrogance got in the way of that.
Some of the people that feel as though his sentence is too steep are the same ones that criticize Detroit for being a city full of illiterate, criminals when Kwame’s actions did nothing to combat the roots of those social ills, but to promote them.
I expected more from our leadership, especially a young man with so much potential. Again, let’s focus on reinforcing positive behavior and not remaining silent on our embattled President while we weep for someone that would never do the same for us.