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Many believe justice was finally served in the case of disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly.
Kelly was convicted of nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking at his federal trial on Monday, theGrio previously reported. Kelly has at least three other cases he has to fight, with his legal team already promising an appeal for the Brooklyn, New York conviction that just concluded. But one person who says Kelly is worth another chance is Illinois Congressman Danny K. Davis.
TMZ caught up with Rep. Davis and asked him whether he would welcome Kelly back into his hometown of Chicago.
“As an artist, one who is gifted, I think he’ll be welcomed back into Chicago as a person who can be redeemed,” Rep. Davis told paps. “I’m a big believer in what is called second chances and I actually have a bill that we got passed called The Second Chance Act, which gives individuals the opportunity to be redeemed and to redeem themselves. So, it really will all depend upon him.”
The Act Davis is referring to is called Second Chance Probation, a form of probation that according to attorney Stephanie Kemen’s website, “gives judges the option to sentence certain first-time, non-violent offenders to probation without having a felony conviction on their record.” The law was enacted in 2007.
The option is “only available to defendants who have not previously received probation, conditional discharge, or a conviction for any felony offense.” Those who are charged with a Class 3 or 4 felony that involves drugs, theft, or criminal damage to property are eligible. But, a defendant charged with a crime of violence, a sex offense, or a DUI is not eligible. It would appear that in Kelly’s case, he would not be eligible.
Kina Collins, who is currently gunning for Rep. Davis’ spot, disagrees with his stance. In an official statement, she denounced Davis’ second chance theory for Kelly.
“Congressman Davis’ statement today was thoughtless, distasteful, and incredibly disappointing for a man charged with representing thousands of Black women and girls in our district,” Collins said in part.
“I’m shocked that my Congressman would choose today of all days to focus on second chances for a serial abuser rather than uplifting survivors,” she continued. “Second chances for those reentering communities from prison are critical. But by holding R. Kelly — a man who leveraged his wealth and power to evade justice and harm Black girls — as an example of what second chances look like, Davis is undermining the broader fight for justice.
Collins then praises the work of those who have fought tirelessly for decades to have Kelly’s crimes be brought to light.
“It took years of activism — led by Black women — to hold R. Kelly accountable,” she noted. “He has caused immeasurable harm to so many women in our district and across Chicago. He hasn’t even been sentenced, let alone begun to serve his time. When so many survivors are just now finally able to begin their healing process, Congressman Davis’ statement shows just how out of touch he is with the community he claims to represent. My heart goes out to survivors in IL-07 and across the country today. Our district deserves better than thoughtless leadership.”
theGrio reached out to Tumia Romero, who is the Chief of Staff/Communications Director for the Office of U. S. Representative Davis for an official statement.
“Kelly has been accused of criminal acts, gone through a court of law, been convicted, and must serve whatever time the court decides,” the statement read.
“Yes, he has lived in Chicago, I am a law and order policymaker; therefore, I am focused on trying to arrest the coronavirus, raising the debt limit, passing a budget, maintaining and rebuilding our infrastructure, feeding the hungry, meeting the health needs, taking care of children, resettling the Haitian and Afghanistan communities, and improving the quality of life for all. Women and children must be respected and protected at all times and at all costs.”
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