Judge allows community members to weigh in on drug kingpin’s release

A judge in Washington, DC, wants the people who live in a formerly drug-ravaged neighborhood to have a say in whether the one-time kingpin who ruled over it should be let out of prison.

US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan asked Washington Attorney General Karl Racine to seek the community’s opinion before Sullivan decides whether to shorten Rayful Edmond’s life sentence.

Edmond, now 54, was the “undisputed boss” of an open-air, round-the-clock crack market avoided by cops in the 1980s. His crew would patrol the area, near Gallaudet University, with Uzi submachine guns and was linked to at least 30 murders. At one point, law enforcement officials estimated he was raking in as much as $2 million a week.

“All over the city, he was known as THE MAN,” said George Madison, a 54-year old retired security guard.

Madison remembered that Edmond ran drug operations, but, like an old ward boss, also helped people in the community. The drug kingpin bought school clothes and gifts for kids and sponsored local basketball tournaments.

Federal prosecutors say since he was busted and got a life sentence at age 24, Edmond has spent years helping authorities convict other dealers. Now they’re seeking his release, but the judge wants input from the people whose neighborhood he once plagued.

At a recent community forum, opinions were mixed on whether he should be released, and whether he should be allowed to return to the now largely gentrified community.

“If the state feels that he’s paid his debt to society, then I can live with that,” said May Lewis, who attended the forum. “But I do hope he doesn’t return to Washington to live. That might be too much for a small community like this to handle.”

It was the first of three public meetings where community residents will have input. There is also a website and public phone line where residents can submit their views.

“If he gets out, he has to make amends for all those people that ever brought crack from him, he sold cocaine to, or somebody that got hurt, injured or harmed by crack cocaine, he has to make amends to it,” said Don Scott, a retired DC police officer who infiltrated Edmond’s operation as part of a federal task force.

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Source – https://nypost.com/2019/06/22/judge-allows-community-members-to-weigh-in-on-drug-kingpins-release/