News Release

Execution of Troy Davis and the “Culture of Killing”

AP reports: “Georgia executed Troy Davis on Wednesday night for the murder of an off-duty police officer, a crime he denied committing right to the end as supporters around the world mourned and declared that an innocent man was put to death. … He told relatives of Mark MacPhail that his 1989 slaying was not his fault. ‘I did not have a gun,’ he insisted. ‘For those about to take my life,’ he told prison officials, ‘may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.’ …

“Amnesty International says nearly 1 million people have signed a petition on Davis’ behalf. His supporters include former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, a former FBI director, the NAACP, several conservative figures and many celebrities…

“Witnesses placed Davis at the crime scene and identified him as the shooter, but several of them have recanted their accounts and some jurors have said they’ve changed their minds about his guilt. Others have claimed a man who was with Davis that night has told people he actually shot the officer.

“‘Such incredibly flawed eyewitness testimony should never be the basis for an execution,’ [Davis attorney Stephen] Marsh said. ‘To execute someone under these circumstances would be unconscionable.'”

KEVIN GRAY, kevinagray57 at gmail.com
Based in South Carolina, Gray is author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics and The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama. He said today: “We press ahead on opposition to the death penalty and our culture of revenge and killing. Troy’s death is tragic. But this country, not just its individual states, kills every day: In Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places around the world. We grieve for Troy as we grieve for the anonymous souls killed by drones or U.S. and NATO bombs or assassination teams. We have to find a way to stop all this killing.”