- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A former mayoral candidate and community activist convicted of making dozens of bogus 911 calls from his home was sentenced Thursday to 3½ to seven years in prison.

Abdula Jamal “A.J.” Richardson, 39, was sentenced to a term longer than what the Allegheny County prosecutors asked for - 2½ to five years.

In imposing the sentence, Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani said Richardson was “not getting it that what he did was wrong.”

The more than 100 calls included reports of a domestic dispute and of a woman being strangled and held captive. Sgt. James Glick testified at the sentencing that the calls endangered the community and responding officers, as well as wasting their time.

“The sheer disrespect and mockery shown to my profession, that I’m so proud of, must have consequences,” Glick told the judge.

Before he was sentenced, Richardson didn’t apologize but thanked the judge for letting him speak and asked for “mercy.” His lawyer, Elbert R. Gray Jr., told the judge that Richardson is outspoken. “It’s who he is,” Gray said.

Richardson’s wife, Felicia, 44, also was sentenced - to two years’ probation. She previously was convicted of harassing law enforcement and making false reports. Richardson was convicted of reckless endangerment, harassing law enforcement and making false reports to police.

When he was charged last year, he contacted media outlets and said he and his family didn’t make the calls and the charges were racially motivated. Richardson is black.

Richardson finished a distant fourth in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary. Weeks before the election, he was arrested on drunken driving charges. Richardson berated the arresting officers, who were black, for being “subservient to the white man.” He told reporters the charges were a “feeble attempt to discredit me” before later reversing course and apologizing. He pleaded guilty months later.

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