Kwame Kilpatrick ruined Kwame Kilpatrick

Not long after Detroit’s disgraced ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years for essentially running the city as his own personal piggy bank and playpen, Kilpatrick’s supporters rushed to the streets – and Twitter and Facebook – proclaiming that their hero had been done wrong. In their eyes, this all was a horrible injustice inflicted on a man who simply made a few mistakes that were certainly no worse than many criminals who had caused much more harm.

Just this weekend when I joined some friends for a small social gathering to watch the Bradley vs Marquez fight on HBO, the host threw out the question of what everyone thought about the verdict.

“He didn’t kill anybody,” a woman said. “I think the sentence was outrageously long.”

I bit my lip and kept my mouth shut because I just didn’t feel like opening up the can of emotions I knew would become unleashed if I said what I was really thinking. I’ve been getting together with this same crew to watch the fights for years, and they’re a good bunch. Besides, we were already watching one fight, so why start another one right there in my friend’s living room? I did notice him watching me for my reaction, but I just shook my head.

I used to be a huge fan of Kilpatrick. My wife and I both were huge fans. I supported him when he ran the first time, and I supported him the second time as well. To this day I still believe he is one of the most gifted individuals I have ever had the opportunity to meet personally. Kwame Kilpatrick was a brilliant and greedy young man who threw it all away. He is not the victim of a racist conspiracy against black men, nor is he the poster child for 500 years of oppression against African Americans, as was suggested by local activist Minister Malik Shabazz.

“I think the judge could have been merciful. I think I would have liked to have seen the judge look at the good that the man did and that he has a family,” Shabazz was quoted as saying in the Detroit News.

With all due respect, every convict in prison has a family. As for mercy, and comparing Kilpatrick’s sentence to lesser sentences received by others in the criminal justice system who commit murder, etc., I wouldn’t argue that judicial system is broken. I think that’s an accepted fact. But if we can accept that the system is broken and has been broken for a long time, then we should also accept that the system didn’t break down just for Kilpatrick – if it broke down at all, which I don’t think it did. Also, this was a Federal case, whereas most murders, rapes, etc., that some are trying to compare to Kilpatrick’s crimes are usually not tried as Federal crimes and therefore cannot even be compared as such. Plus no judge worth a nickel makes his or her decision based on how many years some other convict received in some other unrelated case. That’s just not how it goes.

And in Kilpatrick’s case, we need to remember that this is someone who  enriched himself and his buddies at the expense of a city that was – and is – flat broke. And if anyone knew how broke this city was  (as he was ripping it off) then Kilpatrick knew, because Kilpatrick is many things but stupid is not one of them. He ripped off Detroit with a wink and a smile, and with eyes wide open.

That’s something I can never accept, and will take me a long time to forgive.


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Writer and musician.



2013-10-14 15:22:33 Reply

So true! This is what I’ve been telling my peers (most, of course, don’t know much about Detroit). Greed brought him down. He should know the GUB-MENT keeps track of their money ALL THE TIME.

Steven Malik Shelton

2013-10-14 20:24:06 Reply

Hi Keith, long its been a while. I agree with your sentiments of disappointment and betrayal regarding Kilpatrick.
Howbeit, KK was clearly given an excessive sentence if we compare his offences with other political convicts whose misdeeds had a deeper and more far reaching effect on not only a city, but a state (as was the case with Governor Ryan of Illinois, who was found guilty of similar federal crimes and received 6 and a half years) or Richard Nixon whose actions impacted an entire nation, yet who was pardoned by his buddy Gerald Ford.

Keith, there is a reason why KK was (and is) maligned, persecuted and viciously slandered like no other person in my memory in the annals of American jurisprudence. And that reason is because he is symbolic (in the white racist psyche) of the collective Black male who is intelligent, unapologetic and un-bowing. Let us be honest, there is (and always has been a double standard in the American so-called criminal justice system. It is most obvious and pronounced between the Black and the White, but is also evident and apparent between the White and the non-White and the poor and the financially well off.

Kwame is much more than just a city politician who got greedy and narcissistic and committed crimes while in office. He is a lightning rod for white America’s fears and paranoia. And he is also being utilized in a form of psychological warfare to condition us to be suspicious and to reject Black leadership, especially if that leadership springs from our own midst.

Moreover, it is not just Kwame that is fair game in this most sordid and vicious of attacks. It is also his mother who is being targeted, his wife, and even his children have been the recipient of barbs and platitudes of ill will.

A criminal justice system which consistently jails the poor and the marginalized and the people of melanin, while allowing the privileged , the white, and the well- connected to walk free is (to my way of thinking) no justice system at all. In other words, it should either mete out justice to all regardless of position or ethnicity, or admit that it is a mockery to justice that has no validity accept the validity it assumes thru power, propaganda and force of arms.

Roger Chesley

2013-10-14 21:11:06 Reply

Good piece, Keith. While in Detroit, I never met Kilpatrick, and I was surprised by his ascent from my perch in Virginia. He worsened the city’s woes.


    2013-10-17 19:14:54 Reply

    Hey Roger! Been a very long time. Thanks much for your comments. I really appreciate it.


2013-10-14 21:36:36 Reply

Mr. Shelton…… Former Cuyahoga County commissioner Jimmy Dimora received a 28 year sentence for coruption in Ohio. He is a white man. There is plenty of racism that still occurs in this country, your rant does a disservice to those who are truly victims. Kilpatrick got what he deserved. His sentence is not a message to black people. His sentence (and Dimora’s) is a message to politicians.


    2016-05-17 14:20:55 Reply

    Felt so hopeless looking for answers to my qu.nsiont.e.ustil now.

Steven Malik Shelton

2013-10-17 16:46:28 Reply

Dave, your analysis of my comment on former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appears to have validity and merit, but is really quite narrow minded and superficial.

Yes the Jimmy Dimora received a 28 year sentence for political corruption, yet he was never relentlessly maligned and castigated in the media (nor drew the hatred and ire from the general white populace) as was Kwame Kilpatrick. Neither was his wife, his mother, his sister, his dad and his friends subjected to the brutal microscope of public scrutiny, hype and innuendo.

I must admit that I (as well as most everyone else who does not live in Cuyahoga County) have never heard of Mister Dimora. And his anonymity undergirds my point that Kwame Kilpatrick was targeted and prosecuted with extreme spite and with the assistance of a vicious media campaign (not only to shed light on his misdeeds, but to break him mentally and spiritually and to send a message to his followers and to drive wedge between him and Black people in general. Black people who have been stereotyped and psychological assaulted in America for some 400 years.

Also, you neglected to mention that Mr. Dimora was sentenced to a 25 year federal prison term only a couple of months before Kwame Kilpatrick received his sentence. I don’t think this was a coincidence, but a strategy whereby Dimora is made a sacrificial lamb to justify an extremely lengthy sentence for Kwame and to give it precedent and make it appear as though it had nothing.
at all to do with race. Moreover, if my understanding of American judicial machinations is correct, Dimora will not do anything close to the 28 years he’s been sentenced to but will be released after doing far less time and his relief will come in the form of a federal work program, or amnesty or (as in the case of disgraced former president, Richard M. Nixon) a federal pardon. (Of course Kwame Kilpatrick will not receive such considerations and will be forced to serve his full term).

Moreover, you neglected to adequately address the thesis of my argument which is: if K.K. got what he deserved, why is it that 99.9 percent of all the crooked politicians and banksters and corporate agents and stooges never get what they deserve?
No, there is an odious element of racism and double standard of justice that perforates the persecution/conviction of Kwame Kilpatrick which cannot be smoothed over or camouflaged by the aberrant and startling 28 year sentence of one white, corrupt ( and very minor) public official.

Sir, Kwame Kilpatrick was ensnared in a cauldron similar to that faced by other Black political leaders like Washington DC’s Marion Barry, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Harold Washington and Coleman A. Young who ran afoul of the white power and privilege structure, and were relentlessly attacked by the corporate-owned-and- controlled-media because of it.

Kwame’s days in office were cut short when he could no longer please his wealthy political sponsors as well as the masses of people that depended on him and whom he was sworn to serve. Thus, it was not so much Kwame’s wrongdoing that landed him in the soup, as much as his perceived defection from the interests and control of the powerful men that, for decades, have manipulated both politicians as well as economic events and phenomenon for behind the scenes.

There is, of course, insidious precedent for projecting the specter of criminality upon the collective person of the Black man. And it is not such a big jump for projecting it upon the so-called common Black man on the street, to draping it over the shoulders of the glorified and usually overblown Black man in public or political office.
This practice serves several purposes: it reminds the masses of people that regardless of how exalted the political status of Black leaders and representatives, they can still be brought low by the mighty hand of White power and influence; and it also serves to break the confidence of the Black masses in their political leadership and prompt them to perceive them as ultimately incompetent, unworthy, and powerless.

Kwame had to go because he was not docile or compliant enough for the corporactocracy who were eager to hatch their plans. They realized his unsuitability during his first term as mayor, and thus the desperate attempt to usher in Freeman Hendrix (the former deputy mayor under Dennis Archer) who had proven to be much more willing to dance with the devil and much more amiable to relinquish Detroit’s jewels and to set it up for the eagerly anticipated “reorganization” of its assets as well as the resettlement of its population.


    2013-10-17 19:14:04 Reply

    Hey Steven,

    Yeah it has definitely been a long time. Good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to post your thoughtful comments on my blog. I must say that despite the detail provided i still disagree with your final analysis that Kwame was prosecuted basically because he would not sing and dance. It’s true he was subjected to harsh media attacks and that goes back to his first term in office when I very much supported him. Supported him second term as well, when the media attacks got even more ridiculous. But the reason why Kwame is going to prison is because Kwame screwed up, and not in any small way. It doesn’t matter whether Nixon got pardoned, or whoever else may have gotten off. Kwame did not get off, and Kwame invited additional scrutiny by his activities while being investigated. Hiding money? Living in the most exclusive section of Texas and then claiming he only had $6 a month to pay restitution? Please. Kwame was trying to game the system, and this was after he screwed Detroit. If you’re gonna be a player, at least know how to play the game. I have lost all respect for the man. I’m sorry, because he had such tremendous potential, but I’m through.


2013-10-18 04:27:35 Reply

Hi Keith, I think we both are correct in our own way.


    2013-10-18 04:31:05 Reply

    I can live with thatSteven. Once again good to hear from you and thanks for your participation.


2013-11-30 15:32:19 Reply

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    2016-05-17 11:17:24 Reply

    It’s great to find an expert who can expalin things so well


2014-10-02 13:02:34 Reply

Most of the photos I’ve seen show about half to three-quarters of Obama’s pirtectoon detail being Caucasian. All presidents have their favorites, but I don’t think there is a story here about that.The story we do have here, in this particular case, is that some of Obama’s pirtectoon detail basically decided to have a GSA Party! Instead of clowns and mind readers, they elected to have prostitutes. Several members of the military air transport unit are also apparently involved.Keep in mind that Colombia is not exactly a safe place to visit even under ideal conditions. Murders, bombings, kidnappings, etc., are all daily occurrences. So we have some serious failure in judgment here.


    2016-05-17 11:15:26 Reply

    This is both street smart and inlentigelt.

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