I’m completely disgusted with Kwame Kilpatrick.
He’s a thief and a liar who betrayed the black residents of Detroit who expected so much and received so little. The former mayor of Detroit who emerged with so much promise was found guilty Monday on 24 counts of racketeering, conspiracy and extortion and a judge ordered Kilpatrick directly to prison.
No bail. No debate. No mercy.
Kilpatrick, perhaps the most underhanded mayor in Detroit’s history, got the verdict he deserved.
As he was led away in handcuffs, Kilpatrick turned to his sobbing family and said: “Stay strong.”
During a five-month trial, prosecutors said Kilpatrick, 42, was using Detroit as his own “private profit machine,” raking in loads of cash for his own personal pleasures and neglecting the needs of black residents who are struggling every day to make ends meet.
Jurors were told that Kilpatrick was a corrupt politician who took bribes, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means.
And now he could face 20 years in prison.
“I saw a lot that really, really turned my stomach,” one juror told reporters. “I couldn’t believe this kind of thing was going on… but there was never any anger. Disappointment is all I feel.”
Some black residents of Detroit are insisting this is a case of racism, where whites set-up Kilpatrick to discredit him and, in an orchestrated effort, took down another black leader.
“Racism and ignorance is still profound in this city,” Omarrai Ali, one of Kilpatrick’s former students, told The Detroit Free Press. “They charged that man like he was Al Capone; like he had a criminal organization. This is flabbergasting.”
Nonsense. Jurors agreed that Kilpatrick was running a systematic criminal enterprise. This is not about racism: this is about Kilpatrick’s greed, lack of integrity and corrupt behavior.
I was born and raised in Detroit and I rooted for Kilpatrick when he was elected as Detroit’s youngest mayor in 2001 at the age of 31. Kilpatrick had promise and a gift of persuasion. What I didn’t know – and what I could not have known — was that Kilpatrick was corrupt to the bone.
Sadly, Kilpatrick isn’t the only black politician to be accused of corruption in the past few weeks.
“First Junior Jesse, now Kwame. I hope Ray Nagin is the last,” said Tom Joyner, host of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
“It’s no secret that I thought 10 years ago that Kwame would be the first Black President,” Joyner said. “Now because of the crimes he’s been found guilty of committing, he and other Black politicians are limiting the Big Chief’s choices when it comes to appointing black cabinet members. It’s a sad day for America, Detroit, black people and most importantly, Kwame’s family. He’s a husband, a dad and a son….who could have been great.”