About a month ago, I posted about our work and hope for the Troy Davis case. The reality is, despite being given an extension on life by the Supreme Court, the court refused to hear his case, thereby bringing an end to the appeals process. Now, with less than 6 days to save an innocent man named Troy, those of us trying to organize others to speak out on his behalf are looking for your help to get the message out.
Here are a few of the essentials:
1. Troy 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.
2. Again, while all but two of the original eye-witnesses have recanted their testimony as false, another nine eye-witnesses named Redd (another person of interest) as the shooter.
3. Decades of scientific studies confirm that distance, lighting, duration of crime, weapon-focus, other race effects can impede ability to encode sufficient detail to make an accurate identification later. Moreover, a witness’ memory of the assailant’s face is malleable. Even unintentional suggestions – let alone the overt pressure alleged here – can contaminate memory and lead the witness to confidently identify the wrong person. ALL THE EYEWITNESSES IN THIS CASE WERE EXPOSED TO DAVIS’ PHOTO PRIOR TO THE “OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION.” The trial lawyers did NOT file a motion to suppress the identifications as unduly suggestive and inherently unreliable.
AS AN ASIDE: Of the two remaining witnesses, even their stories coming to the knowledge that it had to have been Davis is representative of the above paragraph.
To be for certain, the way that this court case has been handled from the beginning could make Troy’s reality any of our realities. The case serves as a testimony to the way in which in America today, people are still falsely accused, tried, and imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. But what is worse for me than the idea that Troy might be innocent, is the fact that in the US we still practice a form of medieval punishment for crime: a.k.a the death penalty.
Even last night while thinking, praying, and working with friends on what we can do in Atlanta about the case for justice, a young German friend passed by. As I told her what we were doing, her face turned white and she looked with horror. “You know what is scary,” she said? “America sees themselves as this big superpower, but they still kill people and act like they are part of the middle ages.”
For Troy Davis, innocence does matters! For until the US stops acting like a superpower from the middle ages, Troy’s innocence is the only thing that will save him from being killed by the system that falsely imprisoned him.
Here is what you can do in the next 6 days to help save an innocent man named Troy Davis:
1. Forward on a link to this page, or other pages about Troy Davis and spread the word. The more buzz we can create around the case worldwide, the more likely it is that the Georgia Probate Court will act on Troy’s behalf.
2. Visit Amnesty International, download a flier and get signatures in the next two days. The one day the signatures to the Atlanta Probate courts or Attorney General’s office.
3. If you are in the Atlanta area (or US for that matter), there are two events you can attend:
-Protest at the Capital on Thursday evevning beginning at 6
-Interfaith Vigil at Cannon Chapel, Emory University 12 Friday or, 8pm Friday.
4. If you pray, pray for the Davis family, and the MacPhail family.
5. Again, even if you are European, you have a voice in these matters. Check out this statement from the EU and send a message to your leaders!!
Again, in this case as is in so many others, innocence matters because justice hangs in the balance. You have a voice, let it be heard!