NC man discusses pardon
Dontae Sharpe and his supporters discuss the pardon of innocence Gov. Roy Cooper granted him on Friday.
please keep your mic muted as we continue with this program. So I would let reverend experiment. Please take it away. Thank you Brittany. Uh, look, I don't have much to say at all because I am elated and overcome with joy. All I want to do is try my best to, I was trying to show you the signed by recording in progress. The sign behind me up above my head says pardon Dontae Sharpe. Now that's past tense y'all because Dante has been pardoned. That's all I have to say. Yeah, thank you, reverend Spiderman, reverend barber. You know, I'm sitting here out in front of this road thinking about the long road that Dante has had. I want to, first of all remember his anti who's going on the glory. Who visited him every weekend every day. She could with his mother. I just talked to his mama Sarah and you know the real hero in all of this is Dante shop. Everybody has done different pieces. But the system in here, north Carolina, time and time again said to Dante, if you will just say yes to something that you did not do. Uh, we'll consider letting you out. And what I'm so glad about is that Dante listening to his mama's teaching. Don't ever say that you did something that you did not do. I want to thank God that they for keeping Dante's mind, keeping his heart even in the bitter times. I want to thank God for those mothers and that stayed with him. I want to thank God for the day the Duke innocent project and a young lawyer named Peyton Swain took up this case and refuse to let it go. Look found the witness, that headline figured out that the system had cheated him at 19 and did all of the legal words. I want to thank the, the lawyers at the NaACP. When I first met Dante and went in and met with him, I want to thank the water that said to me, this man should never be anywhere near this prison and gave us a space so we could wash his feet and commit. And I was in 2017. I want to thank God that when we uh, left the NaacP, we had dr Spielman that man, I knew that would not back up that would continue the process. And I want to thank God for everybody. Uh, every petition person, everybody that did anything. The british broadcasting, a company that did the documentary uh, dr Spielman for making the decision, he had to come and stay others that join all the people and freedom friday. Everybody that prayed, you know, this has all been effort of family love. But then I also must cry some today and Say that there's still three more and and others we don't know and Dante wouldn't want us to forget them. I want to also say that this is too much when you're that, that Dante could have been pardoned before even he was exonerated by the courts and the systems and power didn't do and people in power, he could have been part of after the exoneration that same day. It didn't have and this is too much north Carolina. We have got to change and so yes, you shout today but it is not the shout that you can shout the harvest over. It's a shout that says we gotta keep fighting and keep standing. And most of all I want to say this clearly Dante is more man than any man I know in this state. Any man that has sat in the legislature to any man that is shot in the governor's office because if you can keep your head through all he's been through and remember north cloud as I close this man was put in for like they buried him and and and said he would never see the outside of a prison again. But God is still the God of a resurrection and God still uses people uses people like all of the people have been out here 52 days dot experiment has been here and many, many years these lawyers have been working and fighting and, and and things will never see on the tv camera but all things work together for good for those that love the Lord and have been called according to his purpose. So Dante man, I love you and I'm looking forward to when you, when we can get together, I just want to sit at your feet man and uh and and just listen to you and I told you when you got pardoned, you can give me that stole back. But I think I'm gonna let you keep it brother, you just keep it and you and you give it to somebody else you're gonna work with as they're waiting on their part. God bless you man. God bless you. Yeah, thank you, reverend barber. And of course now we'll have Dontae Sharpe speaking. Well well, well uh well they don't cover everything man. You know, I'm just, you know, thanks for the God, you know, like reverend barber and reverend spirit and said uh for my mom, man that raised me like she did and put them more resentment, some principles, you know, I didn't might stick to all of them, but when I got in the situation, it came the right thing came back to me, you know, uh and it went for her and my aunt man, I probably would have made it all the visits and the support and you know, I'm big on the support, you know, the most important people in this fight, you know, I'm gonna give honor where honor is due. You know, that's two people out there with reverend spearmint and reverend barber with Caitlin them and forward Justice N double A cp black voters matter, all the organizations, all those mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers, I've seen it on wheelchairs out there for me and uh all the marches, individuals and I got kind of emotional reverend spirit and Barb was talking, you know and I really haven't, I really haven't soaked it in yet, you know, it was a surprise me and Kate was just talking 10 minutes, folk Teresa called me and told me that called me mr pardon? You know uh me and Kate was just talking about this. All of this is just preparation, you know, you got to be prepared when you get your blessing for God, he knows how we are, how we respond to the blessing, but we really don't know and he always sent us through preparation times and me and Kate was just saying that today, I believe it all, it's all been preparation for me For the further work I got to do, you know, because it's it's my freedom is still incomplete, complete longest. There's still people going to prison wrongfully if there's still people in prison wrongfully and there's still people is waiting on parts. So my freedom still isn't 100% and I don't believe it's ever going to be 100% because you know, I have been in there, I went through the fire and went through there with guys and seeing guys and know that their guys in that innocent and know that our system is is you know it's a corrupt and it needs to be changed. So um I just want to thank everybody that fought for me and fought with me and pray for me, especially behind the scenes getting emotional now and uh I'm just gonna soak it up and uh celebrate the night and uh just sit back and really think and thank God uh and just be thankful that you know I got mine and and be also thankful that the guy the other guy is going to get there is to you know because that's really what's important now now I can move on now my my family's name is being clear, you know, a pardon of actual innocence, it lives a burden off of my shoulders and my family shoulders and it's just a blessing and I do want to thank Mr cooper for doing what was right, it might then come when I want it, but we all know God was really in charge anyway. And at the end of the day like I said, he gave his word that he was going to make a decision. We didn't know what that decision gonna be by faith. We believe they were going to be a part of me and he did it but we still believe in for the other guys get pardoned too. I can't forget them, I won't forget them and uh you know, just God bless everybody that helped me get from prison to this point in my life and I know I hope some of y'all will continue on this journey and fight with me to help right this system. Yeah, Caitlin. I want to say one thing Dante just did something. He's quite magnanimous. And I want to say to the governor, I pray that in the next few days you'll bite Dante in and you all can sit down together and look out of the eye and talk man to man because perhaps in the midst of all of this, you all can join forces and get the rest of those men out and really change the system is broken. But I think governor as Dante, thank you for what you did. You ought to call him in and thank him for he stood and talk and look at how this system can be changed. So Dante, I want to thank you for teaching us because sometimes we want to be angry when things didn't come exactly what robert. Thank you Justine and that's why I want to listen to you. Thank you. Because if you can be magnanimous, the rest of us got to follow. Mm Thank you so much Dante and reverend barber for your powerful words. We're going to have Caitlin Swain co director for justice to close us out. Well, there's, there's nothing more to say. Uh, I, I will say say that today is a beautiful day in north Carolina for justice. It is a beautiful day for Dante and his family. It is a day that is so well deserved and it has been earned through real pain and I will say what reverend barber just just lifted up when Dontae Sharpe came into my life, it was a blessing. It was a blessing the day that I met you Dante and you are a blessing to north Carolina with how you have taught us about the struggle for justice, about what it looks like to do that while you're healing, while you are living out your healing, your family's healing and what you have called on and called into being with all of us who have come together and learn from you and from the example that you set is a better way of doing justice in this state. So I, I applaud governor cooper for doing what is right today for continuing to do what is right in the coming days. And I agree with reverend barber, let in the voices of the people of north Carolina. Like Dontae Sharpe who had been leading in showing a different way to do this justice away that on where's the humanity of all. And then I do have to say Theresa Newman Jamie lau, jim Coleman spencer, paris could not be on this call today, but call out their names and thank them for their leadership in this state for supporting people who come and say I was unjustly incarcerated wrongfully incarcerated in this state and I need help. They do. They listen the wrongful convictions clinic at Duke Law is one of the best in this nation and I hope people will lift them up and support them because their work is so needed. We look forward at forward justice to continuing to work with this administration in every administration at every level at the national level, uh federally, in this state, at the local level, who is committed to transforming this criminal justice system from one that denies the humanity of people to one that centers the humanity of people. Thank you all for your leadership. Uh, and I know that there are many press on this call who may have questions Dante. And I spoke before this call and I think that we are going to ask for you to please email those questions uh, directly uh, to uh, we're gonna put a contact information in into the chat so that he can actually have this evening to celebrate uh, this and and and soak this in, you know, uh Dante unless you wanted to take any questions now. Is that is that, am I right? Whatever you say, I'm riding with your whole a pastor seat, whatever you're gonna do. Okay, so I'm seeing from de mola any inquiries can be sent to Brittany cheatham. We have one question on behalf of the Associated Press brian. If you want to ask your question, you can come off of you. Uh, thank you all so much. Can you hear me okay there? Awesome, awesome. Uh well, God bless them and thank you so much for for taking this. I'm sure you want to celebrate so I won't be keeping you too long. I just wanted to hear from you Dante. Can you just sort of describe a moment when you felt most at the end of your ropes? What got you through it? And when you hear the word pardon of innocence, what that means to you today? Got Theresa right here, hold on. Well the man apart Teresa, I'm on zoom right now with everybody. You want to hold on for me. I need to get I need you, can you write this down, hold on. You need as soon as you can you need to call this guy, call this guy. Okay, don't say these words out loud. Hold on one second. Hold on. Can we mute dot okay, so we can make. There we go. There we go brian, he's coming right back on the ap um go ahead, reverend Barbara and as he says he's talking to you know, one of the things that was so powerful. I remember the first time I walked into the prison to visit Dante with uh Capeman and what I was amazed by knowing he had been framed. There was no hatred in his thought, there was no malice. Remember that Caitlyn? Um, he was, he was hurt but he did not have hate, he was disappointed but he was not despondent. He was, he was, he knew he had been done wrong but he didn't have any kind of sense of vengeance, you know, all he wanted to do was the right thing to be done. And I remember uh when we were able uh as I said the water and even said this man has no business being in here and you know, some of the things that they didn't normally allow and we said we wanted to do foot washing, which is a form of in the church when you wash another person's feet and we got found a cup of water and the tower and wash his feet and Dante kept saying, even then I want to use my life, he wasn't even part, he wasn't even out of jail but to make a difference. And I do believe in a real sense that when you somehow can have that kind of spirit, it's not a weak spirit, it's not that you give into the system, but you refuse to let the system determine who you are, You decide inside the bars that you're not gonna put yourself in another prison and the prison of hate. That is one of the things that then allows you to receive from grace received from the spirit receive from God, the kind of supernatural if you will strength to hold on to your freedom. And even when freedom is far away the same way you saw Dante Justin smiling and last thing at this party remember Caitlin was the same way he was when we went into the prison it's really amazing the same Dante. He has not changed is not shifted remember that same smile, that same commitment to truth, that same thankfulness for all the people that have stood with him For for 20 some years it's the same Dante thank God for his continued witness in this community bro. He's still out there you want me? Yeah yeah just uh if you heard the question again it was just when were you most at your ropes and what got you through it and when you hear the word pardon of innocence what goes through your mind right now? Well I'll be up and down for me man you know up and down sometimes emotional emotional roller coaster but God and my mom and same thing I'm gonna say the people that supported me you know times when I've seen people out that margin for me and individuals and that stuff let me back up, I'll be down God man praying and then when I heard a part of the day I just got the phone with Caitlin Swain and uh I was kind of in shock. I thought it was a joke when Theresa Newman called me my lawyer in terms of my internally she called me but I know she don't joke like that because she really wanted me to have his pardon and she down with me down for the count you know like everybody else has been involved, everybody been down with me and Down for the Count. But I really want that excited. I was I'm still in a haze kind of cause you know, I learned that when you're dealing with us human beings, you know, it can go any way, you know, yes or no, you know, we still are well can be kind of we can be kind of stubborn and hard, harder than, you know, I didn't really know what to expect. I will believe in for a pardon, but whichever way it went because he said he was gonna make a decision. He hadn't said he was gonna part, he said he's gonna make a decision by december. He did. So it was a surprise that it happened today after the conversation, me and Caitlin Swain had that really what shot me but I'm still in I'm still absorbing it right now, I'm still absorbing it. But the first thing is really part of my mind or the people that have been fighting for me and I always see those ladies uh in the wheelchairs and all those people out in the cold and heat and the rain for me. That was really to be honest, the first thing that part of my mind because I know best who really brought it about all the support. They're coming together. The people that's what because we run things. The people run this thing really, you know, you want to get it all the way you know, God using the people man, you know through the people. So that's what got me through Prayer people and you know, I'm excited, but I'm not that excited. You know, I haven't really had, it'll probably hit me two or three in the morning and I'll tell you when I get by myself. That's right. I like that excited, but not that excited. That's that's that's the way it ought to be because this should have happened a long time ago. That's right. Thank you everyone. If there are no other questions will be closing out until Al Dante to go be with his family today. Great! All right, take care. Oh three.