This is the fifth time I've blogged since 2007 about what I consider Troy Davis’s wrongful imprisonment. Davis has been on death row in Georgia for more than nineteen years for the murder of a police officer he maintains he did not commit.
A comprehensive report by Amnesty International backs Davis up by showing that no physical evidence against Davis was ever found and that the weapon used in the crime was never located. The case against him, as the report details, consisted entirely of witness testimony that contained numerous 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 Davis. One of the only 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 Coles.
This video does a good job explaining the case and showing how Davis is clearly not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Davis has been scheduled for execution three times—each time receiving a stay—without ever receiving a hearing on evidence discovered since his trial that could prove him innocent. Now, Davis has received a new execution date of September 21. With no appeals left, his life lies in the dubious hands of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. President Obama could also intervene on his behalf.
But even with just two weeks left, the fight to save Davis’s life is winnable. Davis’s sister, Martina Corriea, is spearheading national and international efforts. People from Jimmy Carter to Desmond Tutu, to John Lewis have spoken out forcefully against Davis’s execution. Tens of thousands have demonstrated. As more people hear about the case, its blatant unfairness will continue to push public opinion.
Here are some things you can do to help the cause:
Be a part of an International Day of Solidarity on September 16. Start thinking about whether it’s feasible for you to go to Georgia for demonstrations called there. If you are not able to go, you can help by donating to assist someone else's travel!
Hold a petitioning event in your community. Think through meetings, events, church services, famers’ markets, bus stops, busy intersections, etc. that might be good places to collect signatures for Troy. Download the Campaign to End the Death Penalty's fact sheet, petition and clemency letter.
Use Facebook and Twitter to share Amnesty's online petition, and news about the campaign.
Write a letter to the editor, article for your school newspaper, blog post or blurb in a church, school or community bulletin about the case. Contact local radio stations and ask them to cover the case.
Organize a speakout. Gather friends, activists, and concerned community members to a prominent place in your town to show support for Davis with banners, signs, and materials about his case. Check in with Amnesty chapters in your area to see how you can join current events already planned.
Call (404.656.5651), e-mail (Webmaster@pap.state.ga.us), and fax (404.651.8502) the Board of Pardons and Paroles and voice your support for Davis.