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Brown County police chief disgusted Brownwood man's sentence was shortened

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EARLY, Texas - A Brown County police chief is criticizing President Obama's decision to shorten the prison sentence of a Brownwood man shortly before he left the White House.

Obama commuted the drug sentence of Jerry Lee Thompson, 66, last December and he was freed on Tuesday.

But Early Police Chief David Mercer said he's disgusted by the act.

"A lot of man hours go into those cases," Mercer said on Friday.

He helped put Thompson in jail when he worked in narcotics for the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Thompson was sentenced in 2001 to 26 years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute less than five grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a playground.

Mercer said Thompson was selling crack cocaine in Brown County.

But Thompson, who was released from a halfway house on Tuesday, said his sentence was unfair and racially motivated.

"I go to church every Sunday just trying to straighten up my life," Thompson said on Friday. "I spent almost 17 years in a federal prison and I never pulled any drugs or any alcohol [in there]."

Thompson served his time at Big Spring's federal correction facility.

His sister Betty Bright doesn't appreciate the criticism concerning his release.

"He did the time," Bright said. "In fact, he did more time for the crime he committed."

She, too, believes Thompson's case wasn't handled properly.

"The law is not fair, especially when you don't have money. It's even more unfair," Bright said.

Thompson's release was part of an initiative President Obama's launched in 2015 to commute non-violent drug offenders with sentences he found too harsh.

Thompson is living in Fort Worth with his daughter and doesn't have plans to return to Brownwood.

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