All Articles Tagged "death penalty"
Capital punishment opponents everywhere are celebrating the fact that former Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal, will not be executed by the state of Philadelphia.
Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a white police officer in 1982. Celebrities, particularly those in the Hip Hop community, have been very vocal about his innocence, claiming that the selection of the jury was racially biased and the evidence, including eye witness testimony, was not enough to warrant Abu-Jamal’s arrest.
You can read the full story behind the decision not to execute at Black Voices.com.
(AJC) — Sent to death row 20 years ago as a convicted cop killer, Troy Davis was celebrated as “martyr and foot soldier” Saturday by more than 1,000 people who packed the pews at his funeral and pledged to keep fighting the death penalty. Family, activists and supporters who spent years trying to persuade judges and Georgia prison officials that Davis was innocent were unable to prevent his execution Sept. 21. But the crowd that filled Savannah’s Jonesville Baptist Church on Saturday seemed less interested in pausing in remorse than showing a resolve to capitalize on the worldwide attention Davis’ case brought to capital punishment in the U.S. Benjamin Todd Jealous, national president of the NAACP, brought the crowd to its feet in a chant of “I am Troy Davis” — the slogan supporters used to paint Davis as an everyman forced to face the executioner by a faulty justice system. Jealous noted that Davis professed his innocence even in his final words.
The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last week despite tremendous doubt about his guilt has brought the issue of capital punishment into the national spotlight. As a country that supports use of the death penalty, America is in poor company with “the world’s great dictatorships and autocracies [such as] Iran, Zimbabwe, China, North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, [and] Belarus” according to The Atlantic — while we are supposed to be the land of the free. Far above and beyond the politically nasty associations with capital punishment is of course the moral concern over accidentally putting innocent people to death. It is likely that the average American believes this is a rare occurrence worth the social value of the death penalty as a deterrent from violent crime. Unfortunately innocent people are often placed on death row. In a study of executions in 34 states between 1973 and 1995, Columbia University professor James Liebman found that: “An astonishing 82 percent of death row inmates did not deserve to receive the death penalty. One in twenty death row inmates is later found not guilty.” Most death row inmates do not have the resources or time necessary to determine their innocence before it is too late. Hopefully, Troy Davis’ case and others like his will show U.S. citizens how the death penalty destroys innocent lives. Over 1,000 people have been executed since 1976. We may never know how many went to death in error. Here are just a few who we know for sure were likely innocent — but this was discovered too late.
Griffin was executed by lethal injection in 1995 for the 1980 murder of Quenton Moss, a drug dealer in St. Louis. Griffin was convicted and received the death sentence based mainly on the testimony of a career criminal, Robert Fitzgerald, who later admitted to committing the crime himself. Fitzgerald also stated that the police pressured him into accusing Griffin. Griffin, like Troy Davis, maintained his innocence until the end.
(AJC) — The Rev. Raphael Warnock told the college students in a church outside the state prison near Jackson Wednesday night that they had joined the fight for racial justice in America with the stand against the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. The battle was bigger, he said, than saving Davis’ life. He said he talked to the condemned man this week and he asked him what he should tell the people. ”He said, “Tell them I am already victorious,” said Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Stan Gunter had to agree. The executive director of the Georgia Prosecuting Attorneys Council said that Davis and the mega public-relations machine behind him had managed to distort the facts of the murder case down to sound bite of “seven witnesses recanted or they backed off their testimony” which had allowed the well-funded NAACP and Amnesty International to portray Davis as an innocent man.
(AJC) — One of Atlanta’s prominent religious leaders took to the pulpit Sunday and argued that that the battle against the death penalty should not die with this week’s execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis. The Rev. Raphael Warnock called on congregants at Ebenezer Baptist Church to live their faith through both justice and mercy. Both were absent, he said, when the state executed Davis Wednesday for the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah.
(Atlanta Journal Constitution) — Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore is calling for an economic boycott of Georgia over this week’s execution of Troy Anthony Davis. “I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, [and] to never do business in Georgia,” Moore said on his website this week. The Academy-Award winning filmmaker and best-selling author also called on his publisher to pull his memoir, “Here Comes Trouble,” from every Georgia bookstore. If Grand Central Publishing doesn’t pull the 427-page book, Moore said he will “donate every dime of every royalty my book makes in Georgia to help defeat the racists and killers who run that state.”
Although I can understand the outrage at the murder of Davis,what I can’t wrap my head around is the shock. I was born and raised in Georgia and know all too well that Georgia is a part of the south both demographically and culturally.
Georgia in 2011 is a lot like Georgia in 1963. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Georgia’s black population was kept underfoot by racist Jim Crow laws. Today, the status of blacks as an underclass is managed by draconian sentencing laws put in place by the state legislature. Little black boys and girls are, in many cases, prosecuted as adults and placed in jails with full grown men and women. Young white boys and girls are given the benefit of doubt.
I grew up hearing stories of how my grandparents were sharecroppers and how they barely made enough money to feed my mother and her siblings. The klucks in the south were a most insidious and virulent breed. And those who’ve picked up their mantle can’t be made whole, or even human, so I didn’t share anyone’s expectation that a miracle would befall Troy Davis.
You have to remember that the people who run Georgia have lynchers and cross burners as their progenitors. Back in the good ‘ol days, taking the kids out to watch a hanging, picnic basket in hand,made for a jolly good time. Murder is the heritage of the white South. Bloodlust is in their blood. And unless we mount a challenge that consists of a lot more work and a lot less prayers , the South will rise again.
There is no enduring legacy of justice and fairness in this country and what progress has been made is tainted by the South’s faithful allegiance to its traitorous heirloom – the Confederacy. The shadow of home grown terrorists dressed in white robes and cone shaped hats as well as military men fighting for the right to own other men and women,looms heavy in the south.
So I wasn’t the least bit surprised when, at 11:08pm, Georgia murdered Troy Davis. Sadly, Davis is just one in a long line. What was shocking, however, was the reaction of onlookers; those waiting, expectantly, for a miracle. Somehow, many were fooled into thinking that Atlanta’s reputation of being a safe haven for hard working black people extended to all of Georgia. It doesn’t.
You may’ve been shocked at Troy Davis’ murder, but my mother surewasn’t and neither was I. We know better. Now, hopefully, the world knows better as well.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and BreakingBrown.com.
(Huffington Post) — Minutes before he was put to death, Troy Davis asked his supporters to “continue to fight this fight” – but will they, and how? The Georgia inmate’s case outraged hundreds of thousands of people around the world who found the evidence against him weak, and opponents of the death penalty hope their anger provokes a backlash against capital punishment. Some activists say a fitting legacy of the case would be laws that bar death sentences for those, like Davis, whose convictions are based on eyewitness testimony. With Davis gone, however, the loose coalition of groups who pushed for his freedom may simply crumble. Much may depend not on the death penalty’s most strident opponents, but on less politically active people who were drawn into the debate by Davis’ two-decade struggle. That includes Melvin Middleton, who believes capital punishment can be appropriate. After learning more details about Davis’ case, he decided to show up at a downtown Atlanta rally opposing the execution.
I’m sure you’ve heard the sad news already. But after a a four hour delay, Troy Davis was executed last night around 11 p.m. by lethal injection. The delay was caused by the fact that Davis filed an eleventh hour plea to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay on the execution. The stay was denied. After hundreds of thousands of signatures to prevent the execution circled around with the help of Amensty International, Change.org, the NAACP and others, along with Davis offering to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence, justice wasn’t served, and reasonable doubt all of a sudden meant nothing.
For those looking for the President to step in, a statement was released yesterday by press secretary Jay Carney saying, “It is not appropriate for the President of the United States to weigh in on specific cases like this one, which is a state prosecution.” So it was up to the people who kept getting signatures, spreading the word through social media and protesting. Davis’ sister Kim, who created the campaign for Troy’s life on Change.org, wanted people, including supporters around the world, to know that Troy was grateful:
“When Troy saw that more than 650,000 signatures had been delivered to the board in his name, he called to tell me he was deeply moved. He told me he knew that he had supporters around the world, but he had no idea that the support was that widespread. ”
While we’re very sad that Davis had to be executed, especially with so much doubt surrounding the case, we hope that this spurs people to step up and fight and not deal with injustices like this in the future. We aren’t silly enough to believe that Davis was the only man on Death Row or in prison in general possibly wrongfully convicted. It’s better to know you tried to make your voice heard and fight, than to just shake your head when it’s all said and done. Don’t take these things lying down folks! On top of that, as many of our Facebook followers pointed out, stay doing positive things with positive people so that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. Tell that to your children and let them know about this case so they know what the justice system is capable and incapable of. That goes out to young men, grown men, young women, grown women, children, anybody–spread the word.
There have been some really deep and thought-provoking articles about Troy Davis’ case, the issues with the death penalty and the impact of Davis’ execution all over the web. We leave you now with a few links to those. R.I.P. Troy Davis:
- “Troy Davis is Dead; The Movement Continues” – Rashad Robinson: The Huffington Post
- “A death in Georgia” – J.F.: The Economist
- “Troy Davis’ Execution: Outrage for Opponents, But Closure for Victim’s Family?” – Nathan Thornburgh: Time
- “Watching an execution: AJC reporter was inside the death chamber” – Rhonda Cook: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Troy Davis may have died amid a storm of controversy with supporters around the world asking the state of Georgia to spare an innocent man, but yesterday, a martyr was born.
According to witnesses, Davis continued to proclaim his innocence until the very end of his life. He looked in the direction of the family of Mark MacPhail, the officer he was convicted of killing, and told them they had the wrong guy and that he’d hope they would find peace by digging deeper into the case to find the right one.
What does it say about Georgia that a man, whose conviction was supported by very little evidence, could go forth with an execution although there was enough doubt to appeal the case? What does it say about a justice system that ignores outcries from the likes of Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 51 members of Congress, and a former FBI director?
The decision to execute and to deny an appeal for Davis illustrates not only the deep-seeded racism that still plagues many Southern states but reinforces a strong doubt in Americans’ faith in the legal system – especially the faith of African-Americans who are more likely to be negatively affected by bias. The ramifications of this scenario are far and wide. Although Davis did not receive justice; it is grossly apparent that he did not die without a cause. Like he said himself in his last days, his death was for all the Troy Davises who came before and after him. Indeed, the justice system must and will change because of this fiasco. And for that, we thank Troy Davis.