“STATEMENT TO FEDERAL COURT AND JUDGE: SENTENCING HEARING” NOVEMBER 9TH, 2022
Good morning Your Honor, Officers and Members of the Court, Officers of The Law both State and Federal, Local Leaders and Activist, Members of The Clergy, Members of my Family, Supporters and Citizens of the United States in attendance.
With honor and respect, I address this court, this judge and this country, that I love and took an oath 33 years ago to defend against all enemies both foreign and domestic. I believe that our Constitution is the cornerstone and the unwavering standard and model of freedom and democracy for the world to follow. The Rights afforded to us as US citizens are unlike any other in the world and justify the name of The Land of The Free and The Home of The Brave however it is up to us as citizens to realize and recognize the boundaries of operating within the framework of those rights. Boundaries contained by morals, values, and most importantly The Rule of Law. Let me begin by acknowledging the growth of my personal knowledge of such boundaries when expressing our 1st and 2nd Amendment Rights as guaranteed under The Constitution. These boundaries, so often crossed when we are swept up in the winds of emotional belief of misinformation, are the very foundation for the need of the construct of law. Without laws our society devolves into anarchy. It has always been my policy to operate within these boundaries, the confines of the law when exercising my
1st and 2nd Amendment Rights.
I spent 27 years of my life embracing my education, working in Corporate America, being a musician, a husband, and eventually joining my states National Guard. I spent the next 7 years serving my country on full time Active Duty after transferring to the United States Army. I served my country with pride and was awarded (2) Good Conduct Medals, (2) Army Commendation Medals, The National Defense Medal, The Non- Commissioned Officers Professional Development Medal, Oversees Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserved Medal, Kuwaiti Star, and the Expert Marksman Medal. I accomplished all of this as a soldier and husband living around the world. I left active duty honorably in 1997 and returned to civilian life as a musician. During this time, I still did not adopt a life of crime.
A return to Active Duty a year later began a tumultuous 6 years that saw an early discharge from the Army, a return to working in Corporate America, a divorce resulting in an incident which brought me into contact with the American civilian justice system. Those charges were dismissed ending in a small fine and a misdemeanor. This 6-year period ended after I went AWOL from an Army Reserve unit, I was allowed to join as an instructor. The fact of the matter is that we all should evolve, change, and grow. I did, in 2006 and I never looked back. The process continues to this day, allow me to elaborate.
In 2006 I changed my entire life after I was blessed to be granted an administrative discharge from the Army Reserves. I relocated to the Mid-West, started a new life, found a new wife, and dedicated my life to my God. I spent the next 16 years being a law-abiding, productive member of our society. I became a successful Information Technology Architect, working for some of the largest corporations in the world such as General Electric, Dell, Warner Brothers, Royal Caribbean and government entities such as the FDA, Veterans Administration, L3Harris and NASA.
I not only became a faithful worshipper of our Lord God but became an ordained Baptist preacher in my church where I preached for 10 years, taught in the children’s church, oversaw the media ministry, taught bible study, sang in the choir, officiated weddings, funerals, and traveled abroad representing my senior pastor at other churches. I became a member of The Transforming Jails Ministry Program ran by the Cincinnati Sheriff’s Department, which allowed me to lead a team of 10 into jails, halfway houses, domestic violence shelters, and juvenile detention and rehabilitation centers to provide worship services as well as extend opportunities to those leaving incarceration, in an effort to reduce their chance of recidivism. I went a step further and completed the Ohio Pastoral Ordination Program to allow me to act as one of several on-call pastors for those serving long term sentences in prisons. My spiritual walk has provided me the opportunity to officiate at several high-profile services such as the funerals of Walter Scott and The Emmanuel 9 and to interact with a sitting president, vice-president, congressmen, house representatives, governors, and state supreme court judges.
I became an activist for equality and fair treatment of all regardless of race, sex, religion, nationality, or age. I believe in the Rights and Laws of this land, but it is no secret that they are not administered equally when it comes to African Americans or people of color. I have traveled from one coast to the other, acting as a voice of reason. Acting as an alternative to senseless violence, rioting, and looting in response to the repetitive incidents of racism and police brutality. I have advocated for solutions both external and internal to the community to address such issues as black on black crime, illiteracy, and voter registration. My efforts have been recognized through awards. Community Leader of The Year Award 2015. Global Peace Award 2020.
I have pursued the office of the Presidency. Stood side by side at The Ground Zero 911 Memorial with Hillary Clinton, Berny Sanders, Donald Trump, Loretta Lynch, Rudy Giuliani, and others in 2015. I have been recognized and won 2 out of 3 Independent Presidential Debates that are still viewed today, and lastly to counter an increasingly volatile deterioration of race relations after the quarantine I created, organized, and lead one of the largest legal 1st and 2nd Amendment expression groups in US history to avoid anarchy between the African American community, white supremist, and law enforcement. With one negligent discharge incident aside, I managed to have this group demonstrate six times in various cities in conjunction with law enforcement and city leadership without one incident of any type. It is only here in Louisville that I have been criminalize and the group demonized when everything I have done for the last 16 years has been to promote communication, mediation, and exercising our constitutional rights within the confines of the law. All of this without becoming a criminal nor conducting criminal activities.
I am remiss to point out that I have been quoted as stating they were just some kids on the rooftop. Must I remind us all that it was a kid that used an AR-15 rifle to kill protestors in Kenosha, it was a kid with an AR-15 rifle that killed 17 students in Florida, that it was kids that killed students in Columbine, it was a kid that killed 28 in Sandy Hook, it was a kid that shot and killed 19 in Uvalde, TX, it was a kid that shot up a school in St Louis, and that it was kids on the roof with AR-15s in downtown Louisville on June 29, 2020 overlooking the Breonna Taylor protest according to an LMPD report. I did not feel threatened after shining my flashlight on this old, unmarked building because I saw no one at all. I’m pretty sure that if I had seen anything labeled police, my response would have been to mention it to the Police Liaison who I met seconds later. I perceived no threat because I saw no weapon pointed at me, but I and countless others feel threatened every day and operate with a sense of heightened awareness in the face of the epidemic of mass shooters where age makes no difference because they are just children.
As one who sought to constrain our expression of our outrage and demands for equal protection under the law regarding the Breonna Taylor killing my organized expressions of the 1st and 2nd amendment were never directed at law enforcement. No threats were ever made toward the LMPD. There was never an intention to engage any law enforcement. The goal was stated several times that it was to attain transparency into the state of the ongoing investigation to appease the chaotic mobs protesting in Louisville. Twice these organized law- abiding citizens demonstrated before the city leadership, requested transparency, and left to avoid any confrontation. It is a sad indictment on the stereotypical perception that African Americans bearing arms must be an evil threat, even when they are legally expressing rights afforded under The Constitution of The United States.
The Scriptures teaches us that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Simply meaning that things we cannot see are working on our behalf behind the scenes to produce things we hope to see. I am hopeful that I will use this experience as a teaching tool to educate others and inspire many of those currently incarcerated. I am hopeful that I shall be allowed to spend this latter quarter of my days as a productive member of society and not be discarded as those who have chosen a life of crime.
I am hopeful that I may use this experience as the cornerstone of teaching the youth the inherent responsibility with exercising their constitutional right. I am hopeful that I may become an inspiration to others to become even more effective law-abiding voices who protest within the confines of the law. It is my intention to work alongside multiple organization and institutions to develop community policing cooperation programs. It is my intention to accept and teach at the institution of higher learning that have extended the opportunity. It is my intention to return to the pulpit as both a proclamator and explainer of why our faith is the true starting point of our restoration of our communities, because I am hopeful that you will see that I am not the threat. I was the example of what you should do to not become one. However, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. The principal of Intent vs Impact is in full effect when no matter what your intentions may have been, you have no control over the impact they have over another person.
One of the observations that has strengthened my resolve to help the youth of today is the disproportionate number of young people committing felony level crimes, destroying their lives before they have a chance to realize their potential. Many of these youth are the children of those already incarcerated or product of the foster care system. Others are victims of grinding poverty created by the lack of opportunity, employment, or mentoring figures in their communities. It is my desire to work along with existing organizations to utilize my influence and experiences as the foundation of a community restoration network to target the ills of these neighborhoods that disenfranchise so many of the youth. I have been asked to join The Restorative Justice Coalition Task Force of Louisville to target crime, gun violence, illegal dumping, environmental injustice, criminal injustice, lack of trust with the LMPD, economic injustice, and educational injustice. This experience with the legal system has given me the validation and the lesson learned war story to use as a deterrent to the youth and through your leniency in my subsequent success with The Restorative Coalition would be the spark of inspiration to the youth who believe that crime is their only choice. Mentorship on a community level is the solution I intend to drive. Reducing recidivism is the other objective.
In 21 days, I will see my 59th year on earth. In nearly 60 years I have been a proud US Citizen in my roles as a veteran, preacher, corporate executive, musician, architect, activist, teacher, philanthropist, presidential candidate and family man. I have never been a murderer, drug dealer, kidnapper, child molester, human trafficker, bank robber, or any of the other jobs in the criminal field. I have been a legal firearms owner for 23 years and after leaving the military I have been an achieving law-abiding citizen nonstop for the last 16yrs. As one who has spent years wearing one, I have always had the upmost respect for all those in uniform but disdained police brutality and abuse of authority as anyone should. I have nothing but the deepest remorse for all of those affected by my perceived actions. This situation has not changed my perspective nor level of respect for law enforcement or the laws of our country.
However, this situation raises potential impacts that will change my perspective on justice and fairness in the country I was born in. The impact of not seeing my mother live out her last years as I am approaching 60 and she approaches 80. The impact of not seeing my older sister pass on as she currently battles cancer. The impact of watching a life built over 6 decades becoming a role model and positive influence on today’s generation and generations of tomorrow discarded, as one who has wasted their lives and are not fit to be amongst society. The impact of realizing that justice is truly blind to injustice and is applied unequally to those who did walk the path of opportunities afforded to everyone regardless of skin color, sex, or religion. The impact that The American Dream is conditional.
In closing let me state that I believed the words of The Founding Fathers when they wrote The Constitution and all The Amendments written afterward. They are all the Rule of Law. As judge over this case, I have prayed that you would take all of these things under consideration in your decision process. The Scriptures states “judge not, lest ye be judge”. We will all eventually face our spiritual judge, but today you are my judge. I respectfully ask for leniency for which is another word for mercy. Thank you for listening. May God bless you, this court, and may God continue to bless these United States.