Two years ago, I wrote a post asking “Why the Rush to Kill?” In it I discussed the case of Todd Willingham who was sent to death row in Texas and executed based on faulty scientific evidence. I also mentioned Troy Anthony Davis, a man on Georgia’s death row due to faulty evidence. Why are we as a “civilized” society still using the death penalty in such an arbitrary and capricious manner? We need to look no further than the 138 men who have been exonerated and freed from death row to realize that our system is broken.
In 2010 the United States was fifth in the number of executions exceeded only by China, Iran, North Korea and Yemen. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, Georgia, my home state, has executed 51 men, including 3 in 2011. On September 6, 2011, a 4th death warrant was signed for Troy Anthony Davis, convicted of killing Mark McPhail, a Savannah police officer. Mr. Anthony’s case has been well-publicized and has drawn the support of many state, national and international leaders, celebrities and members of the clergy. Most of whom, like me, are probably appalled that a man who has a conviction so riddled with doubt, remains on death row.
Since his conviction, 7 of 9 witnesses have recanted, saying they were pressured or coerced into making false statements and nine witnesses have signed affidavits pointing to another man as the real killer. There was no physical evidence and a weapon was never found.
Today is the Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Anthony Davis. You can get involved or find out more about his case through Amnesty International, the NAACP or the Troy Davis organization. Join the call to action by signing a petition, contacting the parole board, attending a rally or just spreading the word through social media. TODAY is the day to do something because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” MLK, Jr.
(Find out more about the inequities of the death penalty here.)