I’ve been holding off on writing about the sad story of Troy Davis, the Georgia man who is about to be executed for a crime he did not commit. I kept thinking that the overwhelming evidence that he is, in fact, innocent, would prevent the state of Georgia from murdering Davis. It appears I was wrong.
Barring a last minute stay of execution by the Supreme Court, at 7 pm Wednesday evening, Troy Davis will be strapped into a gurney and given a lethal dose of drugs. His body will be paralysed and his lungs and heart will simply stop working. He will slowly drift into a death he does not deserve, for a crime he did not commit, punished by a society that has lost its mind.
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. A tragic crime occurs, and a white man of prominence (in this case, an off-duty police officer) ends up dead. A black man is sought as the criminal. One is found. Evidence is fabricated, with witnesses pressured by corrupt police officers to point the finger at a man they know to be innocent. The verdict comes down. “Guilty”.
And just like that, another black man is lynched in Georgia.
The evidence that Troy Davis killed off-duty cop Mark MacPhail simply does not exist. There is no forensic evidence linking him to the crime. There is no DNA evidence linking Davis to the crime. Nine witnesses originally said they saw Davis commit the crime; seven of the nine have come forward to say the police convinced them to lie and say Davis did it, when he clearly did not.
10 other witnesses have stepped forward to say that, rather than Davis, it was Sylvester Coles who murdered MacPhail. 10! This list includes an associate of Coles’, who heard a drunken Coles brag about getting away with the murder.
Despite the mountain of evidence that he did not commit the crime, despite the pleas of thousands of peace activists and despite the intervention of Democrat Jimmy Carter, Republican former FBI direction William Sessions, 51 members of the United States Congress and, well, the rest of the civilized world.
The Georgia parole board even heard from one of the jurors who originally recommended the death penalty for Davis. The juror, Brenda Forrest, told the panel she no longer trusted the verdict or sentence: “I feel, emphatically, that Mr Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Davis has remained peaceful and hopeful throughout this entire 19-year ordeal.
“I would like to thank all of you very much from the depths of my heart because my family and I really need more people out there fighting for us and being our voice and showing support. And all of you have really opened the eyes of people all around the world about injustice, not only to me, but about the United States’ legal system. And it’s an honour to have all of you — your friendship, your support, your letters, and your activist work, it really means a lot,” Davis said.
Not that anyone in power in Georgia seems to care about whether or not Davis is guilty. He’s black and he’s already behind bars. Close enough, right?! Even the family of the murdered officer is ready for a lynching, regardless of whether or not Davis is actually the guilty party.
“A future was taken from me. The death penalty is the correct form of justice,” Madison MacPhail, the victim’s daughter, said before the parole board announced its decision. As much as I want to sympathize for her loss, her father died 19 years ago. I fail to see how the state killing anyone — let alone an innocent man — is going to bring her father back.
Aaah yes, an eye for an eye. And Southerners wonder why the rest of the country thinks they’re bloodthirsty, backward-thinking savages. Maybe it’s because the South is demonstrably monstrous.
Since the South is still anti-black, anti-poor people, pro-slavery (ever see the minimum wage?) and prone to lynchings, I wonder if it isn’t time for the North to put together another Underground Railroad. The South has made it quite clear that blacks are not welcome and will not, under any circumstances, receive justice or liberty. They have made it quite clear that they are willing to execute an innocent black man, simply because they can.
Well, the days of Driving Miss Daisy are over. Southerners need to either grow up and get over their petty, cultural racism, set aside the Confederacy and join the rest of the civilized world, or face another humiliation at the hands of the North. We might not be as loud and rowdy as our Southern neighbours…but we kicked their arse once and we’ll do it again if we have to.
I hate war, but not as much as I hate to see injustice tolerated in my homeland.
In the meantime, President Obama should send troops into Georgia to intervene, and rescue Troy Davis the way they would rescue any other hostage held by an oppressor state. The cops who elicited false statements should be arrested and tried for tampering with evidence and for violating Davis’ civil rights. The politicians on the parole board who voted to continue this execution should be barred from serving the public, in any capacity, forevermore.
And the South should be put on notice: Savagery will no longer be tolerated in these United States.
— John Thorpe
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