President Donald Trump has granted clemency to several controversial people, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s friend and political operative Roger Stone. But what about the people who have applied through the official process and are waiting for answers?
In 2019, we met Charles “Duke” Tanner, a former boxer who was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of a nonviolent drug trafficking crime, his first offense. His arrest came during the war on drugs, which started in the 1980s, disproportionately putting tens of thousands of Black men in prison for decades. Tanner applied for clemency twice, his application just one among 13,000 others waiting for a decision at the federal Office of the Pardon Attorney when our show about him first aired on Reveal.
In this piece for the PBS NewsHour, in the wake of receiving clemency from Trump, we accompany Tanner back to Gary, Indiana, as he plans a boxing comeback. We also explore why Tanner’s sentence commutation was so unusual for this administration.