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NAACP President Asks for Signatures on Petition to Save Troy Davis from Execution

By Ben Jealous  Posted by Stephen Fox (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 5/22/09

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Petition is at  http://www.naacp.com/

Despite a strong claim of innocence, Troy Davis, an African-American man from Georgia, faces execution for purportedly killing a police officer.

Seven out of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found, and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. The Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles has voted to deny clemency, yet Governor Sonny Perdue can still exercise leadership to ensure that Troy Davis's death sentence is commuted.

Please sign the petition asking him to support clemency for Davis.  The Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, which has been a leader in the fight for Troy Davis, will deliver the petition to the governor to ensure your voice is heard.

The case of Troy Davis highlights the need for criminal justice reform in the United States. The NAACP, with its long and accomplished history of promoting civil rights, is on the forefront of a movement to revolutionize the criminal justice system.

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More than 60% of the people in prison are people of color. For Black males in their twenties, 1 in every 8 is in prison or jail on any given day. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the "war on drugs," in which three-fourths of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color. The most extreme end of the criminal justice system, the implementation of the death penalty, is no exception: currently, more than 41% of those on death row are Black. We must fight for change.

Please help us fight for the rights -- and life -- of Troy Davis today.

Here are some facts about Davis's case:

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Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail at a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia, a murder he maintains he did not commit. There was no physical evidence against him and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state's non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.

One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles -- the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

Please urge Georgia Gov. Perdue to commute Davis's sentence and bring justice to this case by signing our petition today.

Evidence in case points to innocence of Davis
Civil rights organization asks members and supporters to petition Governor for redress

Troy Anthony Davis, 40, is set to be executed in the state of Georgia despite his strong claim of innocence.   He was sentenced to death for the murder of Savannah, Georgia police officer Mark Allen MacPhail on questionable eyewitness testimony.  Seven out of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found, and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. The NAACP is calling on members and supporters to send letters and emails through its website or individually to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue asking him to commute Davis's sentence.   The courts are refusing to consider the new evidence despite the overwhelming amount of facts that indicate that Mr. Davis, an African American man, is innocent.

"Governor Perdue must act quickly and decisively to prevent Troy Anthony Davis, a young African American man, from being executed for a crime he did not commit," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.  "Georgia is no exception to the rest of the country.   All over the nation, we have witnessed scores of persons wrongfully sentenced to death.   And far too often, African American men are overrepresented in their ranks.  The preponderance of evidence in Troy Anthony Davis's case points to his innocence.  Justice requires that we not turn a blind eye to killing an innocent man - a travesty that can never be rectified.   We must join together to raise our voice in a clarion call to Georgia Governor Perdue to stop this injustice and save Troy Anthony Davis's life. " Jealous said.

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Tuesday, May 19th is Global Troy Anthony Davis Day, coordinated by Amnesty International, during which people from around the world will press for the commutation of Davis's sentence.

Racism continues to characterize the use of the death penalty in the United States.  Nearly 60 percent of all inmates on federal death row are racial or ethnic minorities.  While whites represent approximately 50 percent of murder victims in the U.S., they represent a disproportionate 80 percent of the murder victims for which current death row inmates have been sentenced.  Critics say this raises the question of whether, in the aggregate, the judicial system places a higher value on the lives of white victims.  The United States is one of only a few countries – China, Iran and Saudi Arabia – that still sanctions the murder of its prisoners. 

"This practice of executing Americans is not only morally wrong but makes no common sense," states Jealous.  It costs millions of dollars more to execute someone than it does for them to spend life in prison.  This is money that could be better spent investigating homicide cases and solving crime.  We must end our country's barbaric practice that is now disfavored by most nations in the world," said Jealous.

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