On Friday May 23rd New York Governor David Paterson granted an unconditional pardon to British-Born rapper, Ricky “Slick Rick” Walters. Walters, who recorded the classic Great Adventures of Slick Rick for Def Jam records, was convicted in 1991 of attempted murder and weapons charges after shooting his cousin and an innocent bystander. He served five years in prison.
Paterson issued his first pardon as Governor to help keep Walters from being deported. Walters’ lawyers plan to apply to immigration officials for a waiver to stay in the country. Slick Rick was granted one in 1995, but it was subsequently withdrawn.
Slick Rick came on the rap scene in the 80s with rapper Dana Dane as a member of the Kango Crew. Known for his trademark eye patch and excessive amounts of jewelry he recorded two hits in 1985 with beat-boxing MC Dougie Fresh, “The Show” and “La Di Da Di.” In 2007 he appeared on Chamillionaire’s “Hip-Hop Police.”
In June 2002, after performing on a Caribbean cruise ship, Rick was arrested by the INS as he re-entered the United States through Florida. He was promptly told that he was being deported because he is a British citizen. In 1996, a law was passed which called for foreigners convicted of violent felonies to be deported. After being denied bail for 17 months he was finally released in November of 2003, but three years later the Department of Homeland Security renewed attempts to deport him.
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