The last time I spoke with former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was in 2010, following his 99-day jail sentence for perjury and several years before he was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for crimes that included racketeering and mail fraud.
“I understand what my position as mayor meant to our community, and I know my reckless behavior disappointed people and, quite honestly, ripped apart a lot of people. My family and people’s hopes were ripped apart,” Kilpatrick told me. “I want people to know how sorry I am for letting them down.”
That was eight years ago and today Kilpatrick’s youngest son, Jonas Kilpatrick, believes his father should be set free. Jonas has produced an emotional music video, entitled “Too Much Time,” which calls for Kwame’s discharge from prison. Kilpatrick is scheduled to be released in 2037 — 19 years from now. He’ll be 67 years old when he walks out of prison.
Jonas, who goes by the name JoJo tha DoughBoi in the video, raps while standing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected Kilpatrick’s request for liberation.
Kwame Kilpatrick with his three sons (FreeKwameproject.com)
“It’s too much time/ there was no crime … 28 year injustice/ black fathers sit in cells while their family out on crutches/ rig the system/ and they wonder why we holdin’ grudges,” Kilpatrick raps while wearing a #freekwame shirt.
“We’ve been at war to expose a truth they refuse to tell you!” Jalil Kilpatrick, one of Kwame Kilpatrick’s twin sons, posted on his Twitter account.
— FreeKwameProject (@Freedom4Kwame) June 1, 2018
The rap video is a noble effort by Jonas to bring his father home sooner than later. Every young man should have an engaged father in their lives and Jonas is no different.
It’s unfortunate that Jonas is forced to deal with his father’s personal indiscretions, crimes and incarceration in such a public way. Jonas didn’t ask for this mess but he is squarely in the midst of his father’s legal quagmire – some of it by choice.
Clearly, Jonas loves his father and wants him home. As Kilpatrick’s youngest son, he’s doing whatever he can to make his family whole again. It’s been a tough time for Jonas, his brothers and Kilpatrick’s wife, Calita.
“The shame, the humiliation and the depression,” Carlita Kilpatrick said in 2016 while speaking to a prison support group in Dallas. “That kind of went along with your life just totally changing and you weren’t responsible for it.”
Kilpatrick’s 99-day jail sentence was the result of Kilpatrick pleading guilty to felony perjury charges following an affair with Christine Beatty, his former chief of staff. The affair was revealed after prosecutors obtained 14,000 text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty. He served his time, was released, but three years later he was sentenced to federal prison for nearly three decades.
It’s unlikely that Jonas’ creative efforts will persuade a judge to release Kilpatrick early. While Jonas wants to embrace his dad, others want Kilpatrick locked up for a long time. The federal government said Kilpatrick supported a lavish lifestyle using their money: He owes $552,862 for golf trips, private jet flights to Las Vegas, massages, and Prince concert tickets.
According to a new website called The Free Kwame Project, the t-shirts Jonas is wearing in the music video sell for $19.99. The website says hiring an attorney to review Kilpatrick’s case would cost more than $40,000 so Jonas is trying to raise money for his father while also pleading for his father’s release in the court of public opinion.
The website claims the former mayor got a raw deal.
“Contrary to widespread rumors, speculations, and innuendos, Kilpatrick’ s case has nothing to do with any ‘missing’ or ‘stolen’ money, nor the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit,” the site says. “Kilpatrick had no indictment counts nor convictions for embezzlement or misuse of public funds. Kilpatrick was elected mayor of Detroit at 31 years old and made some mistakes, but none of them warranted a 28-year sentence.”
Kilpatrick was “over-charged and over-sentenced,” according to the website and Kilpatrick’s supporters are seeking to raise $750,000. Kilpatrick’s debts are massive. He owes the City of Detroit $852,000 in restitution; $1.5 million in restitution to the Detroit water department and $195,000 to the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid taxes.
And now Kilpatrick’s son, Jonas, is growing impatient and wants his father home for good.
Sadly, Jonas will likely need to wait even longer.
What do you think?
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