Update: Troy Davis is dead. He was executed last night at 11:08 pm. The execution was about four hours later than planned, as the Supreme Court deliberated a request for a stay. In his final minutes - after the execution order had been read - Davis looked at MacPhail's family (MacPhail was the off-duty cop who was murdered) and said, "I am sorry for your loss. But I didn't take your son, father, and brother. I am innocent. I wasn't the one who did it. I didn't have a gun." He also told his family to, "dig deeper in the case and find out the truth....to keep up the fight."
I can't even imagine what Davis and his family felt as he approached death, particularly in those last four hours. Reports claim that Davis was strapped to the gurney when the decision from the Supreme Court was read to him. I sincerely hope that they didn't keep him on the gurney for the entire four hours while the Court deliberated.
Davis was aware of and moved by the international show of support for his case. An email from Change.org this morning read, "Davis was not alone when he died. Thank you for standing with him." If you called, wrote, or signed a petition on behalf of Davis - thank you for fighting for justice. Thank you for standing with him.
Of course, as Davis himself said, the terrible thing about this situation isn't just that Davis was killed by the state. It is that the criminal justice system is broken, that it doesn't actually promote justice. Throughout this whole ordeal, people have chanted "We Are Troy Davis." And we are. Everyone is. Because everyone in our broken prison system could be a Troy Davis. And really, anyone could end up in his position - wrongfully accused and on death row. Especially if you are a person of color.
We can't let these issues die with Davis' murder.
If you're interested in anti-death penalty advocacy, visit Amnesty International or The Innocence Project. To date, The Innocence Project has exonerated 273 people in the US through DNA evidence, including 17 on death row.
Today, Troy Davis will be executed at 7 pm. For a crime he most likely didn't commit.
Davis has been in prison for the murder of an off-duty policeman in Georgia for the past 22 years. Since his trial, seven of the nine eye witnesses have recanted their testimony. Beyond the eyewitnesses, there was no physical evidence. One witness claims he heard a man, Sylvester "Redd" Coles later brag that he had done the shooting himself. Coles remains one of the two eyewitnesses who still maintains that Davis is guilty.
On Friday, more than 630,000 letters asking asking the Georgia Board of Pardons to offer clemency to Davis were delivered by Amnesty International. They included pleas from former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former director of the FBI, William Sessions. Despite the international show of support, the Georgia Board denied him clemency yesterday.
This is the fourth time Mr. Davis has faced the death penalty. In 2007, they offered him clemency just 90 minutes before his scheduled execution, citing the lack of evidence.
Please sign this Amnesty International petition as soon as possible:
I also encourage you to call the Chatham County District Attorney, Larry Chisolm. He is the only man left who has the power to withdraw the death warrant: 912.652.7308.
It isn't too late.
For more information on Troy Davis, read the NY Times story.
You can also read this great article by the Crunk Feminist Collective, which explores the racism in the case and locates it within the history of African American lynchings.
Feministing's Zerlina also writes about why this case demonstrates that our justice is broken over on Loop 21.