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Harry L. Thomas, Jr. Sentenced to 38 months of jail

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Guest Eckington Resident

This disugust me





On May 3, 2012, at 14:21, "Robert Vinson Brannum" <rbrannum@robertbrannum.com> wrote:


Dear Neighbors in Ward 5,


This morning I was in federal district court for the sentencing of my friend and former Ward 5 Council member Harry L. Thomas, Jr. United States District Court for the District of Columbia Judge John D. Bates sentenced Harry to 38 months in prison for his acts of official misconduct. This is a sad end to a promising political career.


In pronouncing sentence, Judge Bates not only considered the crimes committed by Harry, but also totality of his life of community service. Judge Bates noted with great clarity the legacy of Harry’s parents and outpouring of letters from the people submitted to the court on Harry’s behalf. In my personal letter, I asked Judge Bates to be merciful in his sentencing of Harry. Kahlil Gibran, “the Prophet of Lebanon” wrote “Listen to my protest, and do not be merciful, but be just, for mercy is bestowed upon the guilty criminal, while justice is all an innocent man requires.”


In my letter to Judge Bates, I indicated I stand second to no one in the belief elected officials have a duty to uphold the public’s trust. My friend and our former ward council member violated this trust to the people of Ward 5 and to the children of the District of Columbia. In in own words, Harry did not blame anyone for his actions. Harry’s crimes were the failings of himself, not a ward, not a city, nor a political party.


Harry stood before Judge Bates and admitted he betrayed the trust of his mother, wife, children; his colleagues, his community, and the children of the District of Columbia. Before Harry addressed the court, his mother and nephew testified on Harry’s behalf. They spoke with a heartfelt poignancy which the court appropriately took into consideration.


Harry’s misdeeds demonstrate his personal downfall, rather than the atmosphere of Ward 5. To be honest, everyone has made choices in their lives he or she may not be proud of and if given the opportunity would change. While there are some in the media and in the “twitter” sphere who purposely mischaracterize my standing with Harry, let me state I do not and will not apologize for my expression of private friendship and personal loyalty.


The people of Ward 5 should not be stained or marred because of Harry’s actions by a few in the media who may have a vendetta against Harry. Under a seemingly new standard of local journalism ethics; some journalists seek to associate defenders of judicial due process and civil rights as supporting violating official oaths and the public’s trust. They do so with intellectual dishonesty and professional hypocrisy.


It is a rape of truth for certain members of the local news media to assert a generalization that the people or community leaders of Ward 5 are corrupt, inept, and their community service may be on its face a charade. It is also arrogant and despicable for a few journalists transform the misconduct of Harry and to proclaim the Democrat Party of Ward 5 and the District of Columbia to have a lower standard of political ethics than any other party in the District of Columbia. When it comes to protecting the rights of women, African-Americans, Latinos, workers, students, the LGBT community, the poor, the elderly, military veterans, the homeless, and similar matters of principle; the Democratic Party is on the right side of justice.


Generations of Ward 5 families and individuals have sacrificed and provided self-less community service across the ward and the District, even up to this present day. They should be respected and honored. It is grossly hypocritical for The Washington Post to promote its legacy under the past publishing leadership by its late Katharine Graham to defend charges of unfair reporting and editorials today, yet seek to deny the rightful respect to the legacy of government service conducted by local District African-American elected officials it condemns regularly within its editorial and District political pages today.


The misrepresentations and double standard of certain journalists and newspaper editorials throughout this tragic episode cannot be ignored. Some reporters and editorial writers have exposed themselves to be as unsavory as those they write about to expose as dishonest. Rabid ridicule via newspaper editorials, articles, and twitter posts is not an acceptable meritorious substitute for rational reporting or responsible editorials.


Let me clear, this is not an attempt to gloss over the wrongful acts committed by Harry, to transfer his accountability and responsibility, or to burn truth as paper over a flame of ignorance. There will come a time when each of us will be held accountable for our individual actions and how we have treated each other.


For those who believe – God is good, He brought us out of darkness, God is good. He saved our souls, God is good. He guides our every footsteps, God is good. He made a way, God is good. All the time.


The best of Ward 5 is yet to be achieved; unified and together we can and will succeed. May God bless us all, particularly the children of the District of Columbia.




Robert Vinson Brannum


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