Today marks the five year anniversary of the state-sanctioned murder of Troy Anthony Davis. He was unjustly executed on September 21st 2011 in Jackson,GA. For a crime he never committed. Railroaded for shooting a cop in 1989, Davis would be convicted in 1991. All evidence against him was non-existent. Seven out of nine "witnesses" who testified against Davis at his '91 trial have since recanted their testimony, claiming police threats and coercion. A worthless cop dies, and an innocent Black man takes the fall. AmeriKKKan Justice 101!
As usual, several links to trustworthy sources will be provided, so you can take in all the details as you choose. For now, here's a basic break-down of the Davis case from August 1989 to Sept. 2011:
On the early morning of August 19th 1989 in Savannah,GA, Davis, along with a friend named Daryl Collins, had just left a pool hall when they drove to a near by Burger King restaurant. While in the parking lot, the two men witnessed an altercation between Sylvester "Redd" Coles and a homeless man named Larry Young. Coles was reportedly violent and assaulting Young pistol-whipping him - a supposed spat over a can of beer. At some point, off-duty cop Mark MacPhail had approached the scene (MacPhail was moonlighting as a security guard for BK at the time). As MacPhail was intervening, he was shot twice and died of his wounds. Bullet and shell casings were recovered that night and were later determined to have come from a .38-caliber handgun. Later that day, Coles walked into the local police station, accompanied with a lawyer, and claimed that it was Davis who had pistol-whipped Young and then used that very same gun to kill MacPhail. On Aug. 20th, police searched Davis' home and reportedly found a pair of shorts that were "supposedly" stained with blood (police official accounts). On Aug. 23rd, Davis was arrested and charged with the murder of officer MacPhail. That .38 gun was never found.
It's at this point where things start to become very sketchy - and life for Davis would be a nightmare for the next 22 years. The overwhelming theory throughout the Davis case in its entirety was that it was actually Coles who had assaulted Young and gunned down MacPhail, then walked into a Savannah police station hours later - armed with a lawyer - to falsely pin the blame on Davis. For his part, Davis had always insisted upon his innocence... right up 'til the very end. On Aug. 28th 1991 Davis was wrongfully convicted of killing MacPhail and sentenced to death. But the deck had been stacked against him from the very beginning. Davis was convicted on literally no evidence, what so ever! The sole "evidence" against Davis - other than the actual killer Coles fingering Davis as the culprit - was so-called "eye witness" testimony which was later proven to have been faulty. Of the nine witnesses who reportedly testified against Davis during trial, seven of them had recanted, claiming police threats, torture, and other methods of coercion. Davis testified on his own behave, claiming that he had fled the scene before any shots were fired, and did not know with certainty who killed MacPhail. The "bloody shorts" taken from Davis' home were ruled inadmissible as evidence, since cops obtained them without a search warrant.
It was basically a kangaroo show-trial. Cops lost one of their own, and were engaged. They wanted to put away any "nigger" they could... did not matter who was innocent or not. This was Georgia, after all. Davis would appeal his false conviction repeatedly, and several execution dates would come and go (adding to his already inhumane treatment, this amounted to cruel & unusual punishment, as well as psychological torture).
Many people had been on Davis' side, as his case for innocence was overwhelming and gaining international exposure. Among his supporters were: Amnesty International, The Innocence Project, NAACP, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, singer/activist Harry Belafonte, nun/author/anti-death penalty activist Helen Prejean, actor/activist for many causes Mike Ferrell, former FBI director and federal judge William F. Sessions, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, Rep.(TX-D) Sheila Jackson Lee, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Jr. amongst others. In addition, representatives from the Council of Europe and European Parliament also advocated on Davis' behave, calling for his execution to be halted. You can add all of this to the millions of other citizens world-wide who opposed a racist system of capitol punishment in America, and rallied for Davis' plight. As well as his own family and friends. Older sister Martina-Davis Correia had been one of Davis' most vigilant supporters, tirelessly advocating on her brother's behalf. As the final date for Davis' state-sanctioned lynching grew nearer, the pressure was stepped up delay his death, as calls for clemency and a new trial came with increased urgency. On September 15th 2011, the Georgia Board of Parole & Pardons was swamped with petitions containing 663,000 signatures demanding Davis' execution be halted. On the day of his scheduled execution, vigils were held in dozens of U.S. cities (including Portland,OR) in solidarity with Davis. Vigils were also held in front of American embassies all over the world, including one in London,UK.
I AM TROY DAVIS: Centered is Martina-Davis Correia, Davis' older sister and his biggest advocate, flanked by supporters. - R.I.P.
In the end, none of this made a bit difference. On September 21st 2011 - despite last-minute appeals and hundreds of supporters on-site, the state-sanctioned chemical lynching of an innocent man was carried out. At 11.08pm, Troy Davis was declared dead by way of lethal injection. He was 42 years old. This act of state terror took place at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison; a deceptively convoluted title for a barbaric southern gulag. It was as if Davis was martyred just to spite all those who insisted upon his innocence. Insisted upon his humanity. Following the martyrdom of Davis, international calls to boycott the state of GA ensued. And of course, people could not help but notice increasingly stark differences in how justice is doled out in this country. How much reasonable doubt one is afforded, depends sharply on who you are.
Five years later, many still remember Troy and remain diligent in keeping his legacy alive. Long after his martyrdom, many activists continue the fight to bring an end to the capitol punishment in the U.S. - once and for all.
Sadly, Martina Correia died on December 1st 2011. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer some ten years prior. At that time, doctors had given her six months to live. Ten years later, she was still alive against all odds. Some say that Correia lived for his brother Troy, both figuratively and literally. Eventually of course, Troy would be killed by the state. Afterwards, Correia kept up her fight in opposing the death penalty, but would succumb to her illness a couple of months later.