Yesterday many of us witnessed the action, taken by the state of Georgia, that some describe as a “legal lynching.” I am speaking of the action to execute, by lethal injection, Troy Davis. He was convicted, and sentenced to death for the killing of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police office, but was Davis guilty of the crime? Over the years, and as Davis made his way to the death chamber, Davis had not only maintained his innocence but spoke, as he prepared to take his last breath, to the family, of the deceased police officer, informed them that he did not kill Mr. Mark MacPhail.
Indeed, there are good reasons to believe that Mr. Troy Davis was indeed innocent. There were serious questions surrounding Davis’ guilt. From the recantation of seven of the nine witnesses, police coercion of the witnesses to no physical evidence connecting Mr. Davis to the crime. Certainly, we will like to believe that our justice system will not condemn someone to death with such a large amount of reasonable doubt surrounding his guilt, but it surely did.
I certainly feel for Mr. Mark MacPhail’s family loss. However, is killing Troy Davis, with all the doubt surrounding his guilt, justice? It isn’t. I am not a supporter of this type of punishment, but to condemn someone to death, being 100% sure that he or she is guilt is paramount. Thus, Troy Davis should not have been murdered.
This is not justice. This murdering of an overwhelmingly, probably innocent man appears to be centered on revenge. It is, as some described it, a “legal lynching.” It is a crime against humanity. We are all Troy Davis.
This killing, however, speaks to more than just Troy Davis. It speaks to all of us. We can all be Troy Davis in a nation that seems to continue to harbor racism and white supremacy. Blacks and Hispanics living in the United States, where the system upholds and continues to expand the socioeconomic disparities between themselves and the white population, are always been targets.
They are described in the mainstream media as deviant criminals who deserve no respect. Blacks and Hispanics are more frequently viewed as suspects and are more frequently pulled over and targeted by raids. In fact, as I write this, we are seeing the expansion of the US prison industrial complex system whose cells are mostly populated with Blacks and Hispanic men, creating millions of dollars for the private owners of these prisons.
Blacks, for example, make up 13% of the United States population, but make up almost 50% of the prison population. We are, indeed, still fighting against racism in the US; institutionalize racism, and, it is very likely that if Troy Davis was a white inmate whose guilt was surrounded with such reasonable doubt, a stay of execution most certainly would have been granted.
Despite this disappointment, our work does not end with this injustice. We must continue to fight to bring to an end this barbaric act of execution. Appealing to God, which we saw especially in the past several weeks leading up to Mr. Troy Davis’ murder, to handout justice was a waste of time. Only the human being, homo sapien sapien, can see to it that justice is justly handed out, and, in the words of Sikivu Hutchison, “it should be clear that true justice has no faith and no religion.”