Three and a half years ago, I had the honor of doing the first interview with hip-hop legend Slick Rick after he had been released from an immigration detention center in Bradenton, Florida. In 1991, Slick Rick, eyepatch and all, plead guilty to attempted murder and weapons charges, for shooting his cousin in New York, and under federal law, immigrants guilty of aggravated felonies are to be booted out of the country (Slick Rick was born in the UK, but moved to the Bronx at age 11). The thing had hung over him even after serving a six year sentence, especially after 9/11, where he was detained so they could figure out whether he’d stay or go. And ever since his release in 2003, the idea of deportation has always been legally possible.
But now New York’s governor — the first black, blind one of New York (and whom we like to call “Butchie” around the office) — David Patterson, (who took over for the other one, the hypocritical, cheating one) has just pardoned the Ricky Dee, according to the NY Times.
Oh, he’s not totally out of the woods yet – there’s still a minor issue about the weapons charges and a petition to the immigration court explained in the Times piece – but it seems to be somewhat of a formality.
Said the Governor’s office in a statement:
Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years. In that time, he has volunteered at youth outreach programs to counsel youth against violence, and has become a symbol of rehabilitation for many young people. Given these demonstrated rehabilitative efforts, I urge federal immigration officials to once again grant Mr. Walters relief from deportation, so that he is not separated from his many family members who are United States citizens, including his two teenage children.
Gov Patterson is 54 years old, raised in Brooklyn, represented Harlem in the state senate and knows exactly what time it is.