DETROIT – After nearly eight years behind bars, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick walked free Wednesday from prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, and arrived in Georgia to meet family.
Kilpatrick’s 28-year sentence was commuted on Jan. 19 by then-President Donald Trump.
A member of Kilpatrick’s family posted a video on social media, appearing to show him hugging two of his sons and sister after arriving at the airport in Georgia.
“I saw a boatload of text messages and calls. I knew it had happened and I was overwhelmed,” said former state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.
Gay-Dagnogo said she has been waiting for the day. She helped pushed the effort forward last February when she personally delivered a letter to then-President Donald Trump asking for clemency.
“If you’re connected to Detroit, people feel his sentence was excessive to begin with,” she said. “He paid a debt to society. He served seven years, close to eight years, being away from his family away and from his mother.”
Kilpatrick was not pardoned, which means he still has millions of dollar in restitution to pay back as he restarts his life.
“He could lead amazing work for criminal justice reform,” Gay-Dagnogo said. “I believe Kwame Kilpatrick will be an excellent example of redemption and grace.”