- 2003 5 Mar
I was booked and placed under arrest in violation of North Carolina General Statute 90-95-A1—"a felony possession to manufacture, sell, or possess, with intent to sell a controlled substance."
I called my wife, Felice, and assured her that everything was OK. I told her to contact our attorneys. I also told her to contact my manager, Jeanette Taylor, and prepare her for a media frenzy. Felice was a little upset at first. But because of my innocence and the fact that she understood and knew my call, she was able to maintain a measure of peace that would be appreciated in times to come. I told her to take care of our six kids—Tredell, eight months, John-John, three, Aieisha, fifteen, Shannon, sixteen, Christopher, seventeen, and Justin, seventeen—and let them know that Daddy was OK and would see them in a few days.
The following Monday there was a bond hearing. My bond was set at $250,000. My attorneys and I were outraged. But then a still small voice spoke to me and said, "This is God's plan." On principle, I decided not to post bond and chose to stay in jail. In order to do this, I realized that I would need a few people on the outside to cover for me. As David and Jonathan had a blood covenant relationship in the Old Testament, I too had one with my friend and Christian brother Regi Miner. I told him that if anything were ever to happen to me, one of the things I would want him to do is take care of my family.
Regi and I had known each other for fourteen years. Through smart investments and concrete foundational business practices, the Lord blessed us and gave us a sense of stability to reinvest in our vision to serve Him in the inner city. I was allowed to call Regi and update him on everything that had occurred thus far. I asked him for his true opinion. He told me he understood my stand, but he was concerned first about my family, and secondly about my church. I assured him that his opinion was important to me and that was the reason I had called him. I knew if he gave me his word, he would do everything to keep it. We had a silent partner named Carla Reed, who had worked with us in the area of video production. She was a sharp, intelligent lady and a program director for a national black entertainment firm. Since we were in the middle of production on several projects, Regi suggested that I call Carla and get her opinion.
Carla had a different take on matters. She felt that my arrest was dumb and didn't make sense. I should pay the bail, get out of jail, and deal with it at a later date, she advised. I stayed on the phone with her for an hour. I absolutely could not alter her opinion. Still, she promised that she would take care of what she could and place everything else on hold until this situation was cleared.
I shared with Regi and Carla that I would ask Elder Ben Truesdale, a close friend and business partner, and my older brother, Alphonza Kee, to cover the church. There were a few other associate ministers who would assist them in any way necessary.
Ben was one of the chief negotiators for the church and my ministry's corporate business affairs. I knew he was somebody I could trust to keep things in order.
Then there was my brother Alphonza. He was not your everyday preacher, but he had successfully run a program in our church called One Step. The One Step program was designed to compensate for some of the shortcomings of our nation's twelve-step programs. I found that people who had come out of twelve-step programs had received an abundance of facts and information but lacked a true sense of God's power or authority to bring healing to their lives. I knew that the only power strong enough to help a person overcome an addiction to cocaine was Jesus Christ. I didn't know this by reading materials, pamphlets, or watching New Jack City. I knew it be experience and through my own testimony. From cocaine to prescription tranquilizers, I had been locked in bondage and needed a way out. I have been clean for twenty years now, and I know in my heart that the only true deliverance comes in having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Under Al's leadership, our One Step program became a huge success. We've helped hundreds of individuals find victory over their addictions. I knew that if I had to stay incarcerated for two or three months, Al had the wisdom and vision to keep the church's ministry on track. This in no way was intended to shun the other minister. But I knew that Al would not bring another dream into a vision that was already working.
Regi promised that he would be by my side and would catch the next flight from D.C. to Charlotte. Al's response, however, was a bit different. I called him and explained the situation and how I would like to handle it. His response stunned me a little, because I did not know he would take it to heart. Let me explain.
Growing up, Al was the brother who never showed emotion. But that was not the case that day. In his voice I could detect anger, sadness, and perhaps a bit of trepidation. I had to determine in a hurry whether Al's apparent resistance to my plan was a reaction to my being locked up or simply fear of what he would have to endure while taking over the church. Soon enough, though, I knew it was the fact that his baby brother would be locked down for a couple of months. He told me not to worry about the church. He felt like he could handle it.
By this time, the news of my arrest had been on every local station and in every local paper. I asked Al about the response of the people in the church. He told me that most folks were standing behind me. But, of course, there were a few who were talking to the media and making statements like "I never trusted him" and "It figures; nobody comes back to the neighborhood and spends as much time as he did hanging out on the streets."
Al said, "Don't worry about it. Stay focused and remember what you always tell the congregation: On the other side of this is indeed a blessing."
He told me he had visited Felice and the kids. They were fine. I told him to contact my mother and grandmother and inform them about the nature of the charges and what had really happened. He told me he had already done that and whatever my decision, he would stand by me.
When my attorneys arrived, there were additional issues to be ironed out. "This bond is ridiculous," I told them.
I knew that I was innocent of all charges. I had to stand my ground. Two of my attorneys, Max Siegel and Keith Cunningham, agreed with me, but William Kee, a first cousin who was in charge of my financial affairs, felt that we should pay the bond and call it a day. I felt by not paying the bond I would make a major statement to the authorities—and I felt a tugging on my heart to just trust God. Although William disagreed with me, he promised to support my decision and do whatever was necessary to get a speedy trial.
On Monday morning I was indicted by the grand jury. My case was going to trial. My attorneys assured me that because of the nature of the charges and the rush to judgment from the district attorney's office to clean up the inner city, we would get a prompt trial.
I finally called my wife to tell her about my outrageous bond. I had no idea how she would respond. When I told her, she began to cry. She stated that it did not make sense. I asked her how she would feel about my staying in jail until the trial. I told her that by seeing this thing through, we would make a major statement and that God would get the glory out of this ordeal.
"I support your decision," she told me gently. "I love you. The kids and I will be fine."
With Felice's approval, I set my sights toward the goal of enduring incarceration for some greater good. God, I believed, would show me my purpose there in due time.
Click here to read "Arrested" - Part One.
From Not Guilty! The Script. Copyright © 2002 by John P. Kee. Used by permission of Institute for Black Family Development and Moody Press. All rights reserved.
John P. Kee is Pastor of New Life Fellowship Center in Charlotte, NC, where he has been building up the Double Oaks neighborhood, which is considered to be some of the toughest streets. He is a producer/artist that hit the scene in 1987 with the release of Wait On Him. He has earned three GRAMMY nominations, 13 Stellar Music Awards, two Billboard Awards, and one Soul Train Music Award. Pastor Kee resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife Felice, and their six children.
The Institute for Black Family Development is a national Christian organization. It offers degreed and non-degreed training nationally and internationally to established and emerging leaders from churches and Christian organizations. To learn more about The Institute for Black Family Development write us at: The Institute for Black Family Development, 15151 Faust, Detroit, Mich. 48223.
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