20 years ago, this man was convicted of shooting and killing a police officer. A black man with very little power and money was convicted of killing a white man in a position of power. A man unvalued by the state, convicted of murdering another man, is about to murdered by the state.
7 of the 9 witnesses on the case have since recanted their statements. One of the 2 still holding to their statements is a man some have pointed to as the real shooter. 7 of the 9 witnesses say they made a mistake. One says, “if I knew then what I know now, this man would not be on death row.” Troy Davis has, from the beginning, maintained his innocence.
But it doesn’t even matter if he’s innocent or guilty. This case so exemplifies the racism, classism, dismissiveness, and injustice very often present in our criminal “justice” system. I believe this case also makes clear just how blatantly wrong and barbaric our country’s use of the death penalty is. The case of Troy Davis is a complete miscarriage of justice.
As we have seen many times before, and undoubtedly will see again, it is up to the people to hold our government and our justice system in check. 650,000 signatures were handed to the Georgia Parole Board last week, and phones are ringing off the hook as I write this to ask the state of Georgia not to sanction the murder of Troy Davis. Consider this, and consider what it means when a man is defined by one moment in his life, when this singular moment leads to decades behind bars followed by lethal injection. Troy Davis is each and every one of us. We must speak out for him and others stuck in the criminal injustice system. We are all Troy Davis.
For more information on this case and what you can do in his remaining days, visit Amnesty International’s page on Troy Davis.
UPDATE: The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles announced Tuesday morning that clemency has been denied. He is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday September 21st at 7pm. If you are in the D.C. area, attend a protest of this decision today at 6pm at 14th St. and Park Rd NW.
Image from Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 by World Coalition Against the Death Penalty