A former Democratic congressman from Chicago, heading to prison for the third time, says he has “given up on America” and plans to finance a Nigerian slave startup after he serves his latest sentence.
“To put me in jail serves what purpose?” Mel Reynolds, 66, asked the judge at his sentencing Thursday. “To teach me a lesson? … I’ve been taught about this racist society … every day of my life. When I get out, I’m going into the slave trade in Africa.”
The judge said he hoped Reynolds would use his time in prison to reassess his life, telling him: “It will give you some time to think where you go from here.”
Reynolds told reporters outside court that he thought about going to Belgium, where 60 percent of sex workers are Nigerian women. “But frankly, there are better opportunities in the homeland,” he said
Human rights organizations estimate that 6.4 million people are enslaved in Africa, 17 percent of them in Nigeria alone.
Reynolds got a six month sentence for failing to file tax returns on more than $400,000 he received for consulting work in Zimbabwe. He had previously served time for statutory rape of a campaign worker and diverting voter registration money into his election campaign.
“I’ve given up on America because how long do African-Americans put up with this nonsense?” Reynolds said.