By Duncan Smith
Few people outside of Gary, Ind., or the sport of boxing have ever heard of Charles “Duke” Tanner.
In 2004, he was undefeated and in a short line for a title fight.
But by 2009, he was being sentenced to prison for his alleged role in forming a powder cocaine drug ring in Gary.
And boy, was he sentenced. To life.
Yes, life in prison.
His trial was emotional.
Speaking on the phone from jail, Tanner said Tuesday he was relieved to be sentenced after two years of delays in Hammond federal court. Tanner’s lawyer, Andrea Gambino, is appealing the conviction and sentence, and Tanner said he thinks his guilty verdict for conspiracy and buying cocaine will be overturned.
“I really feel better now,” he said.
“This conviction was not about my conduct. I feel that this conviction was about me not cooperating with the government.”
At the end a tearful, contentious sentencing hearing, Senior Judge Rudy Lozano levied the life sentence recommended by a probation department report.
Gambino would vow to continue fighting for Tanner’s release. She initially requested that he only receive the mandatory minimum 10 years.
As you can see from the photo above, Tanner is black.
Where did the mandatory minimum come from? Oh, from a 1994 crime bill signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and supported by then-Sen. Joe Biden, a Democrat.
Yes, this is the same crime bill that black men and women have been complaining about for decades. And Tanner’s case is textbook: A non-violent drug offense that carried a mandatory minimum of a decade in prison that, obviously, could be expanded to life in prison.
Talk about injustice.
But in this case, there is justice for Tanner. Finally. And that’s thanks to President Donald Trump.
According to first daughter Ivanka Trump, the president granted Tanner, who once fought in a Trump-owned casino, clemency. Now he’s out of prison and with his young son again, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
He thanked the president in a heartfelt video:
Yesterday @realDonaldTrump granted Duke Tanner clemency after 16 years in prison.
Duke was sentenced to life in prison for a 1st time, non-violent crime because of Joe Biden's 1994 crime bill.
We pray that you will do much good with your second chance Duke!
God Bless! pic.twitter.com/M0TDT8n5eE
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 22, 2020
Some on social media see this just a political stunt ahead of what is supposed to be a close election. A pandering to the black vote.
One, we don’t see pandering, we see justice. This man should never have been sentenced to life in prison.
Two, who cares if the president is trying to appeal more to blacks? He has to the work himself because he sure doesn’t get any credit for it from the goofball partisan hacks in the mainstream media or from ‘black leaders’ like Al Sharpton whom Trump has helped in the past.
And the bottom line is, Duke Tanner is out of prison. Another black man’s life saved by a guy who is constantly called a racist by real racists (like Joe Biden).
Congrats, Mr. Tanner. Live your life; enjoy your son.
And welcome back.
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