This Former Cop Believes Drug War Prisoners Should Receive Reparations

By Seth Ferranti 09/20/16

"The drug war is creating evil all around the world. I can’t sit here in Cedar Rapids and talk to my neighbor and expect things to change.”

This Former Cop Believes Drug War Prisoners Should Receive Reparations
Rick Stewart Photo via Rick Stewart

Rick Stewart, a former cop, is running for sheriff in Linn County, Iowa. The self-proclaimed “21st Century County Sheriff” states that though he doesn't believe in reparations for slavery, our government could afford to pay reparations to those men and women who spent big chunks of their lives in prison for non-violent drug related crimes—by ending the drug war.

Stewart says that victims of the drug war should receive $50,000 for every year spent behind bars. 

“If we’re gonna destroy millions of lives [by locking people up for non-violent drug crimes], which we already have done, at some point we’re gonna wake up and say ‘that was a horrible idea,'” Rick Stewart told Vocativ in a recent interview.

“Why don’t we deal with it now, rather than wait until it’s a much bigger problem? Reparations for slavery, I’m unconvinced. If your ancestors were slaves they are now kickin’ it back in heaven. And if my ancestors owned slaves, they are now roasting in hell for eternity. That seems fair to me.”

In his YouTube campaign ad, Stewart outlines his platform and speaks passionately about how the “drug war” and the people waging it "have ruined our country."

As a self-described “child of the '60s” who smoked hashish in Afghanistan to expand his mind, Stewart is not your regular county sheriff candidate. With the changing times and moral wrongness of the continuing drug war in this country, his stance may be considered refreshing to some and even give hope that in the future, this war on American citizens will end and turn drug addiction into a health problem instead of a criminal one.

“You can’t win the War on Drugs in Cedar Rapids,” he said. “You have to spread the word to those in D.C. I’m going to counterattack and I am going to attack them hard and furious. And I’m gonna win. I’m going to go on the offensive. The drug war is creating evil all around the world. I can’t sit here in Cedar Rapids and talk to my neighbor and expect things to change."

Stewart says the insane drug policies put in place by the “unprincipled heinous criminals, traitors, murderers, lunatics and fanatics" of the Nixon administration are responsible for many of society's problems today—from police shootings to drug war corruption to border security.

"I realized how much fun it is to go after people if you believe they’re on the wrong side of history," he said.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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