Expanding your knowledge in the African American Experience


Ray Nagin is Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin

June 9, 2014 – New Orleans Mayor Nagin, made famous during Hurricane Katrina has been convicted and sentenced on federal corruption charges. Even though no evidence was presented that Nagin organized the corruption he is accused of, he was found guilty of the scheme. Nagin received a much smaller share of the profits than any member of the group who was part of the corruption.

America’s unequal justice system, this time the United States District Court for the Eastern District has yet again cast it’s biased hand in sentencing an African American with more time than it would a white man under similar circumstances.

Judge Berrigan also told Nagin his leadership during Hurricane Katrina was lagging. It is unknown if Judge Berrigan made any comments about leaders with more money, power and resources like Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, Homeland Security Director Michael Brown or President George Bush’s actions during or after Hurricane Katrina.

Nagin was found guilty in February 2014 on 20 counts of receiving kickbacks from contractors hired to re-build New Orleans after the hurricane.

It’s unfortunate many African Americans in leadership positions, like Ray Nagin tend to forget they simply can’t do what some white politicians get away with on a daily basis. Being black in a leadership capacity means you will always be looked at under the scope of a magnifying glass to detect any wrongdoing.

Instead many blacks in leadership begin to feel privileged, above other blacks in thinking their class is free from the magnifying glass. In truth the magnifying glass never goes away and when they lie or cheat along with other men in the room, it will be them who takes the brunt of the fall.

For Nagin and other black leaders who have been convicted of wrongdoing in the past, it’s hard to solely accept blame. Nagin took no responsibility in his corruption case. Matthew M. Coman, an assistant United States attorney said, “These repeated violations, at the expense of the citizens of New Orleans in a time when honest leadership was needed most, do not deserve leniency.”

Such is the saga of Ray Nagin and many black politicians who forget their place in America; past, present and future.

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