New York Governor David Patterson announced today he will grant rapper Ricky “Slick Rick” Walters a full pardon.
The unconditional release follows years of advocacy in the name of the rapper from the likes of Russell Simmons, Will Smith, and others.
Slick Rick was born in the United Kingdom, but arrived in the U.S. at age 11 and settled in the Bronx. In 1991 the rapper plead guilty to weapons and attempted murder charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. The conviction stemmed from an incident in which the ruler shot his cousin and a bystander. He was later released in 1997.
The rapper was re-jailed again for the same charges in 2002, however, after performing on a Caribbean cruise. Immigration officials sought to deport Ricky citing his jail time served in the ’90s. Walters was jailed for a total of 5 years and 33 days. The extra 33 days violated a statutorily permitted term. As a result, the rapper had to serve an additional 17 months in prison. Now, he is a free man, due to Governor’s efforts.
“Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years,” Patterson said in a statement. “In that time, he has volunteered at youth outreach programs to counsel youth against violence, and has become a symbol of rehabilitation for many young people. Given these demonstrated rehabilitative efforts, I urge federal immigration officials to once again grant Mr. Walters relief from deportation, so that he is not separated from his many family members who are United States citizens, including his two teenage children.”
Slick Rick, 43, lives in the Bronx, and works as a landlord for properties he owns.-Jayson Rodriguez