Kwame Kilpatrick Goes to Jail

It’s over for Kwame Kilpatrick. The embattled mayor of Detroit has now become the ex-mayor of Detroit and a future convict.

Kilpatrick has pleaded gulty to two felonies, and will serve time. As reported by the Detroit Free Press:

Kilpatrick’s guilty plea this morning ended a nearly eight-month drama that has transfixed the region, paralyzed much of city business and halted a political career that once held such promise.

In a courtroom this morning, Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstructing justice by committing perjury. He will spend four months in jail, pay up to $1 million in restitution, and serve five years’ probation. He also agreed not to run for office during that five-year span.

In addition, the mayor agreed to a no-contest plea to one count of felonious assault for shoving a sheriff’s deputy in July who had tried to serve a subpoena on Kilpatrick’s friend. He agreed to serve four months on that charge, too, but it will be served at the same time as his other sentence.

The deals also call for Kilpatrick to turn over his state pension to the City of Detroit, which paid $8.4 million to settle two whistle-blower lawsuits three former cops filed against the city. The mayor was charged with eight felony counts ranging from conspiracy to perjury to misconduct in office to obstruction of justice after the Free Press revealed in January that the mayor lied on the witness stand during a police whistle-blower trial and gave misleading testimony about whether he intended to fire a deputy police chief investigating allegations of wrongdoing by members of his inner circle.

In a rushed monotone, before a standing-room only audience, Kilpatrick told Wayne Circuit Judge David Groner: “I lied under oath in the case of Gary Brown and Harold Nelthrope versus the city of Detroit … I did so with the intent to mislead the court and jury, to impede and obstruct the disposition of justice.”

Such a shame, such a waste. But consider this:

Race/Ethnicity of Prisoners, 2005

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, as cited in The State of Black America 2007,
by the National Urban League

Although African Americans are 12% of the US population, they were 40% of all prison inmates in 2005.

At a time when so many black men are wallowing away in prison, the last thing we needed to see was a high profile figure in a position of trust cheat, lie, and cover-up, with the idea that he could somehow “game” the system.

Look, son: maybe Bill Clinton could get away with it… but “we” can’t.

I regret what this has done to Kilpatrick’s family. But even more, I regret the negative impact in terms of despair and cynicism on a once great city.

See also: Factoid: Black Male Incarceration Rate is 6 Times Greater Than Rate for White Males

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