Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted of and sentenced to death for the killing of a White police officer named Mark McPhail. McPhail was shot while coming to the aid of a homeless man who was being pistol whipped in a parking lot. The day after the murder, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, a man who was present at the event, came forward and accused Troy Davis of the crime. Despite a complete lack of physical evidence tying him to the crime, Davis was convicted because of the testimony of 9 key prosecution witnesses.
In the time since his prosecution, a tremendous amount of evidence has come to light that casts doubt on Davis’ guilt. 7 of the 9 witnesses recanted their testimony, some saying they were bullied and pressured by police to say that Troy Davis was the killer. An acquaintance of Sylvester “Redd” Coles has come forward, claiming that Coles had admitted to the murder and to setting up Davis.
More than a million people have signed a petition through Amnesty International to stop the execution, and despite this evidence, the Georgia State Board of Pardons denied Davis’ clemency appeal for the final time yesterday, and Troy Davis is set to be executed tonight, Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7 pm.
While this is definitely a case of injustice in our so-called “justice system,” it is part of a larger picture, a picture of racial injustice in the “justice system.”
In the testimony for the 1987 Supreme Court case of McCleskey vs. Kemp, law professor David Baldus reviewed 2000 death penalty cases, finding that “defendants charged with killing white people were given the death penalty 11 times more than those charged with killing black people; also, that Georgia prosecutors sought the death penalty in 70% of cases involving black defendants and white victims while seeking it in less than 20% of cases involving white defendants and black victims.”
“Justice” in the U.S. is not justice, not when the defendant is Black, and particularly not when the victim is White.
If we do not act, Troy Davis will be executed tonight. That is why I am asking my readers to take 10 minutes out of their day and:
- Email and call the Board of Pardons and urge them to reconsider: 404-656-5651.
- Contact the Chatham County District Attorney and urge him to withdraw Troy’s death warrant: phone: 912-652-7308, fax: 912-652-7328.
- Email and call CorrectHealth, the for-profit medical organization that oversees all Georgia executions, and urge them not to participate in this travesty of justice: Phone: 770-692-4750; Fax: 770-692-4754
Perhaps if enough of us pressure these players in this horrifying game of injustice, we can save the life of Troy Davis.
Speak Out. Act Now.
I Am Troy Davis.