‘People can change’ -- Carmen Harlan on Kwame Kilpatrick’s commutation

Former Local 4 anchor responds to latest developments

Carmen Harlan reacts to commutation of Kwame Kilpatrick
Carmen Harlan reacts to commutation of Kwame Kilpatrick

DETROIT – Carmen Harlan was one of the first people in Detroit to publicly say that Kwame Kilpatrick had to go.

The former Detroit mayor will be released from prison after serving seven years of a 28-year sentence for his role in a major corruption scandal after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence late Tuesday night.

UPDATE: US releases former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from prison

Harlan retired from WDIV in 2016 after nearly 40 years in broadcast news. She covered many historic moments in her career and her opinions carried weight among Detroiters.

“This is like a bad movie that just won’t end,” she said on Local 4 Aug. 7, 2008. “We can’t take it any more and neither can you, Mr. Mayor.”

The controversy surrounding Detroit’s mayor had gone on for months, but it spoke volumes when Harlan had enough.

“‘Sorry’ isn’t enough. We need you to go home,” Harlan said. “Make things right in your home. We need you to resign immediately.”

Years later, she had moved on, and she thinks Detroit and Kilpatrick should too.

READ: ‘The Kwame Kilpatrick rollercoaster ride’ -- The rise and fall of former Detroit mayor

“I guess I’m reflecting back on the last two weeks, Devin,” Harlan said in an interview with her former co-anchor, Devin Scillian. “Knowing how divided this country is and knowing how judgemental we can be toward one another, I think what we need to do right now is just listen with an open mind and maybe even an open heart to why people we think should know better don’t.”

Harlan said she’s not in punitive mood and that she’s even on board with Kilpatrick returning to Detroit if he can be a force for good.

RELATED: Detroit reporters who covered corruption scandal offer insight after Kwame Kilpatrick’s commutation

“As we age, I would hope we can see things in a bigger perspective and that is that people change,” Harlan said. “They can if they have the opportunity and certainly they have the wherewithal within themselves to become a better person, and we’ll have to see if that’s the case. He’s certainly had a lot of time to think about it.”

RELATED: Carmen Harlan’s final newscast: ‘It’s been a wonderful, wonderful ride’


More: Kwame Kilpatrick section


About the Authors:

Devin Scillian is equally at home on your television, on your bookshelf, and on your stereo. Devin anchors the evening newscasts for Local 4. Additionally, he moderates Flashpoint, Local 4's Sunday morning news program. He is also a best-selling author of children's books, and an award-winning musician and songwriter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.