Michael Stipe, Chuck D & More React to Barack Obama's Presidential Pardons

Chelsea Manning
U.S. Army via AP, File

Chelsea Manning

As one of President Barack Obama's final acts in office, he commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence on Tuesday (Jan. 17) -- an act that received praise and criticism across the country. 

Manning's commutation of her sentence came with the President's 209 commutations and more pardons on Tuesday. Manning was an army private who was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks that was published in 2010. She served more than six years of a 35 sentence and is now set for a May release. 

Following Manning's sentencing in 2013, she announced that she was a female and changed her name from Bradley to Chelsea. She began undergoing hormone therapy in 2015 and was approved for gender transition surgery the year following.  

R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe praised the President's decision to commute Manning's sentence. 

"Incredible courage on the part of both Obama and Chelsea Manning," he said in a statement. "What a thrilling day for true patriots!!" 

Actor Randy Quaid also praised Obama's action. 


Elsewhere, Chuck D of Public Enemy voiced frustrations that black nationalists Mumia Abu-Jamal, Russell Melvin Shoats and H. Rap Brown did not have their life sentences commuted. 


Earlier this month, LL Cool J tweeted to Obama asking he commute Black Mafia Family leaders Demetrius "Big Meech" and Terry Flenory's sentences for running a nationwide cocaine-trafficking ring, which lasted from 2000 to 2005. This request was not honored. 


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