For Immediate Release
NAACP Launches Campaign To Save Innocent Man From Execution Troy Davis Could Die Within Weeks
WASHINGTON - The NAACP is launching a campaign called “I AM TROY” to save the
life of Troy Davis, an innocent African American man on death row, who
will be executed unless Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue or the Savannah
District Attorney Larry Chisolm intervene. The NAACP is calling on
people to get involved and contact Governor Perdue or Savannah District
Attorney Chisolm urging them to not allow the execution of an innocent
Davis has been on death row in Georgia for nearly 18
years for the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Savannah,
Georgia. There is no physical evidence linking Davis to the crime and
seven of the nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their
original testimony, several saying they were coerced. One of the
witnesses who has not recanted is the prime alternative suspect in the
case and has been in and out of jail numerous times. NAACP President
Benjamin Jealous, who recently met with Mr. Davis for two hours on
death row said, “Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this man is innocent.”
had no prior criminal record and since he has been in prison, Davis has
been a model prisoner and a valuable mentor to his young nephew, whose
mother has breast cancer.
The courts have denied Troy an
evidentiary hearing which would allow the evidence to be reexamined. A
last ditch effort before the Supreme Court will be heard on June 25 but
is not expected to prevail and his execution could come within weeks
following the decision. The NAACP, which filed an amicus brief in the
case, urging Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to intervene. The new
Savannah District Attorney, an African American, could also reopen the
case, saving Troy’s life.
Davis is also being denied the
right to speak to the media. 60 Minutes, Dateline, and other
television programs are being denied access to interview him. While
the prison will allow Troy to speak on the phone to reporters, “The
denial of his right to speak to television is a flagrant abuse of his
First Amendment rights”, says Jealous.
“It not only is
morally wrong to put an innocent man to death, it does not bring
justice to the victim’s family and allows a dangerous criminal to go
free. We have witnessed scores of people wrongfully sentenced to death
in our nation. Justice requires we not turn a blind eye to killing
another innocent man – a travesty that can never be rectified.”
Prominent politicians and leaders, including
President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, Nobel Laureate Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, Presidential candidate Bob Barr and former FBI Director
and Judge William S. Sessions have all called for Davis to be given a
new trial or evidentiary hearing.
The NAACP is asking for
people to send letters to Governor Perdue and for Savannah residents to
contact the District Attorney Chisolm. A new website, www.IAMTROY.com allows people to send an email directly to the Governor and the DA.
More than 60% of the people in prison are people of color and African Americans make up more than 40% of those on death row.
NAACP will unveil a national campaign at its Centennial Convention July
11-16 in New York aimed towards reversing those trends. The campaign’s
overarching goals are to make communities safer, improve police
performance, save money and end the mass incarceration that
characterizes our country’s criminal justice system. The campaign will
include ongoing efforts to save the lives of potentially innocent men
such as, Davis and Reggie Clemons, another African American man from
St. Louis, Missouri sentenced to death for the murder of two white
girls. There was no physical evidence linking Reggie to the crime: no
fingerprints, no DNA, no hair or fiber samples; nonetheless, Clemons
was convicted and is scheduled to be executed on June 17 of this year.
Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots–based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.