A former American football player Wendell Brown, who was imprisoned in China for three years after being convicted for taking part in a bar fight, is back home in the U.S.
Arriving at his home town in DetroitWednesday, family and friends welcomed him amidst tearful emotions.
“Thank you all so much; I love you all so much.” “We can smile, we can laugh, we don’t have to cry no more!” he said.
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According to reports, his mother, Antoinette Brown-King, met him in California and they flew back to Detroit together after his release from prison on Tuesday.
“We already got a big Thanksgiving meal planned for him when he gets home.” “I know he’ll probably have to adjust to his eating, but we’re ready to help move forward,” Antoinette told Fox News earlier when they got his release date.
Brown was given a four-year sentence but after an appeal in 2018, his sentence was reduced by one year. He was finally granted a video phone call with his mother two and a half years, according to Fox 2 Detroit.
Antoinette and others created a GoFundMe page that raised tens of thousands of dollars, which later was used as restitution to help free him.
The former Detroit King and Ball State University linebacker, who was coaching and teaching football in China at the time, was sentenced to prison in 2016 and charged with intentional assault for his involvement in a bar fight.
He was reportedly celebrating a friend’s birthday at a bar when the fight broke out.
Brown has maintained his innocence, saying that he was defending himself in the attack.
Detriot News reported that bottles were thrown and Brown never instigated the fight but he was the only one arrested from the night’s event and jailed in China.
Efforts made by the family to free Wendell, even going as far as contacting the U.S. President, did not yield any result.
Filmmaker Matt Liston, who also met Brown at the airport, said he has been following Brown’s case and intends filming it.
“I’ve been corresponding with him for a while now through letters, and to see him, I feel like this is a dream,” he told local news outlets.
“I’m happy to be home, finally. After all these years, after all these years of pain and suffering, I finally get to celebrate with my family. I’m home. I’m back on American soil, glory be to God! It’s a celebration,” Brown said.