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Johnny Brantley


Crack Conspiracy, 14 Years

As if I feel no pain . . .

In 1988, at the age of 20, I moved from Chicago to Green Bay, Wisconsin to start a new life for my son Terrell and myself. I was a young black American man in a predominantly white neighborhood, which bothered me not at all. I was a hard working single parent, and my son was on the honor roll four years running with perfect attendance. Terrell was also a football and basketball star.

In the years 1993 to 1996, I was the apartment manager of a very nice, upscale 24-unit complex. I guess that was too much for some people, because I instantly became a target. The local drug task force and DEA set up a sting to try and entrap me. I was approached in 1992 by agents who flatly stated that if I didn't work with them, they would get me later for sure. At first this upset me, then I figured to hell with them; they just wanted me out of the Green Bay area. As the local saying goes, "If you're black and not a Packer, then you must be a hacker!" I wasn't afraid because I was working two and sometimes three jobs to support the two of us, and I figured, "I'm legitimate; I've done nothing wrong."

In 1996, three years into managing this complex, the task force and DEA decided to run a sting on a tenant and me. With this tenant admitting he was selling drugs, and offering to testify his way out of jail, they saw their chance to put my name on something. With the help of two other tenants in my complex, the authorities indicted me on state charges. I was found guilty of delivery of less than one gram of cocaine by virtue of suspect hearsay testimony, a biased defense attorney, and an all white jury. I was sentenced to eight years, and, of course, I immediately appealed. I won my appeal in 1998.

A week before my appeal was complete, the federal government decided to indict me on conspiracy charges for the same alleged crime, and decided to pull the two state charges into federal court as well. With the testimony of co-conspirators, two county prisoners, task force and DEA agents against me, I was back in court. In January 1999, I was found not guilty of the two counts of delivery of cocaine, while the conspiracy charge resulted in a mistrial.

The government dragged me back into court yet again on the conspiracy charge, and I was finally found guilty on March 4, 1999. In the space of four years I was defending my life in court a total of four different times, and I was now facing 12 years in prison. I had lost every dime, my house, two cars, and even my dog. I lost everything that I had worked so hard for, but the biggest loss was that of my son.

I had promised him in Chicago that I would one day get us out of there and away from the killings and the filth, and I had lived up to that promise.

Green Bay was such a beautiful place to raise kids compared to Chicago. My son and I had become best friends as much as father and son. He was doing a superb job in school, and even most of his friends called me "Pops." We had a great future together, or so I thought. What good is a bright future when it can be arbitrarily ripped away from you by bigoted people in high places; authorities with God complexes conspiring to manufacture and forge crimes? It must stop now or there is no future for our next generation.

The federal government has taken my life away as if I feel no pain.

The only picture Johnny has of his son Terrell

Johnny Brantley 05429-089
FPC Duluth
PO Box 1000
Duluth, MN 55814

Updated - 3/1/01

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