Friday, September 16, 2011

Framed up by cops, scheduled to die on September 21

Militant/Marla Puziss
Supporters of framed-up death-row inmate Troy Davis at April 4 labor rally in Atlanta.

Stop execution of Troy Davis!
Framed up by cops, scheduled to die on September 21

ATLANTA—September 16 has been set as a Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis, who faces execution September 21. Davis was framed up, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of a Savannah policeman in 1989.

There was no physical evidence against Davis. No murder weapon was ever found. Seven of nine nonpolice eyewitnesses recanted or changed their testimony, saying they were pressured by police to finger Davis, who is Black.

Witness Dorothy Ferrell revealed in a sworn affidavit the intimidating methods cops used to collect their “evidence.” Ferrell said she felt she had to cooperate since she was on parole. “I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn’t see who shot the officer,” Ferrell said.

Despite mounting evidence of a frame-up, Georgia courts turned down every appeal Davis filed. They used the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, enacted by President William Clinton, to justify their refusal to reopen the case.

Three times the state of Georgia ordered Davis’s execution but had to back down in face of a public outcry. In 2009 the Supreme Court reviewed the case and ordered a lower court to reexamine the facts and rule whether there was enough new evidence that could prove his innocence.

Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, arguing Davis should be executed even if it turned out he was innocent. “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent,” Scalia wrote.

The U.S. district judge who reviewed the case in 2010 upheld Davis’s conviction, giving the green light to the state of Georgia to proceed with his legal murder.

In Atlanta there will be a September 16 march from Woodruff Park to the Ebenezer Baptist Church. An evening service there will hear Amnesty International Executive Director Larry Cox; NAACP President Ben Jealous; Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church; Martina Correia, Davis’s sister; former death row prisoners who were later exonerated; and others. Other September 16 actions have been set for cities from New York and Oakland, Calif., to Berlin, London, and beyond.

Tens of thousands of letters and petitions will be delivered to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles September 15. The parole board will hold a clemency hearing September 19. A vigil will take place outside the hearing at the James H. Floyd Building at 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. To send a letter to the board, go to or fax your message to the parole board at (404) 651-8502.

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Attica to Troy Davis - ‘US justice’

Troy Davis has become a symbol of the brutality and anti-working-class character of “American justice,” whose courts, cops, and prisons protect the property and power of a tiny minority of capitalist families who live off exploitation of the producing majority. We urge readers to join the international actions called to demand a halt to Davis’s execution, set for September 21 in Georgia.

An African-American worker, Davis was sentenced to death 20 years ago on charges of killing a policeman. There was no physical evidence linking Davis to the killing. All but two of nine nonpolice witnesses later said they had been pressured by cops to implicate Davis. At every turn, however, courts rejected his request for a new trial.

The case reached the Supreme Court in 2009, but the justices instructed a lower court to review the facts and rule whether there was enough new evidence that could prove his innocence—despite the fact that the burden is on the state to prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

There could scarcely be a purer example of the aim of the death penalty under capitalism. It is a weapon of the propertied rulers to terrorize working people in face of a system of class exploitation, racism, war, and inequality—a weapon the capitalist rulers can and will use as resistance grows to their assault on workers’ living standards, job conditions, and rights.

Davis’s planned execution coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion in New York state. More than 1,200 prisoners rose up against the brutal conditions they faced. They liberated parts of the prison and broadcast to the world their demands for decent food, medical care, adequate legal assistance, and freedom to organize politically and read what they chose.

“We are men… . not beasts, and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such,” they declared.

The Attica rebellion was crushed in a massacre ordered by New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, with the blessing of President Richard Nixon. On Sept. 13, 1971, 1,000 cops, guards, and National Guardsmen invaded the prison, shooting to kill. Not only did they mow down 29 inmates but also 10 guards and civilian hostages. State officials initially charged prison rebels with “throat-slittings” “castration,” and other “atrocities.” Following autopsy reports, however, they admitted that all 10 hostages died of gunshot wounds inflicted by Rockefeller’s state police.

Now the state of Georgia is planning to carry out yet another “legal murder,” this time against Troy Davis. All out to stop his execution!

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