Friday, September 23, 2011

The Very Familiar, But Not Surprising Troy Davis Case

by Shannon Rose

After disseminating all of the information I could concerning Troy Davis online this morning, I got a message from Mr. Prince A. Lee, asking me to write an article for the Connecticut Black News Network.  I messaged him and told him I didn’t know all of the facts of the case and he told me he was looking more for commentary as opposed to facts.  So, I agreed. 
Troy Davis is scheduled for execution on Wednesday September 21st at 7pm.  His defense team lost it’s bid for appeal on Monday the 19th and again today.  They attempted numerous tactics to get the Georgia Board of Pardons to grant a stay of execution, including offering to take a polygraph test, but again that too was denied.  The NAACP, the ACLU, Bishop Desmond Tutu and the Pope have all requested an immediate stay of execution on behalf of Troy Davis.  People across the country and around the world are staging protests, Facebook campaigns and vigils on behalf of Troy, but as of 5pm Eastern standard, Mr. Davis remains scheduled to die by lethal injection. 
Troy was convicted of the 1989 shooting death of an Atlanta police officer, despite the fact that no gun was recovered, there was no DNA evidence found at the scene and seven out of nine witness affidavits were recanted.  While admitting he was there when the shooting took place, Mr. Davis maintains he was not the shooter.
The prosecution claims ballistic evidence places Troy Davis at the scene of the crime, but this contention, along with many others concerning the evidence compiled in this case are the cause of grave skepticism and should therefore reveal evidence of reasonable doubt, according to Davis’s supporters.  Some compelling questions include, how does ballistic evidence place Troy Davis at the scene, if no murder weapon was ever found?  As well, on what grounds could he be denied appeal, when seven witnesses say their statements were coerced, one witness saying “all the cop wanted to hear was that Troy Davis was the shooter”?  In fact, one woman was reported to have told police that a man that was proven to have been at the scene of the crime, bragged about being the actual shooter.
Again, as I told Mr. Lee, I don’t know all of the facts in the case and I don’t feel as if I’m qualified to write an article about it, however, I do feel Troy Davis has been wrongly convicted and should be granted appeal based on the amount of doubt shrouding this case. 
While I do agree, Troy Davis has received insurmountable support from his family, community and legal team, I think local and federal, Black politicians could have used their office more effectively in pressuring the state of Georgia to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, in the face of so much doubt, before committing a possibly innocent man to a Georgia death chamber.  I mean, what are they there for, particularly local politicians, if they aren’t going to publicly fight on behalf of their constituency?  What’s more, why do we continue to elect people to office if they aren’t going to exhaust every resource available to them in times of great need? 
Still all of this is neither here nor there, because African Americans are a minority in this country and there is only so much the politicians we elect can do on our behalf.  We don’t have the economic power and therefore the political clout to effect the outcomes of civil or criminal litigation, even when the evidence surmounted against us is shoty at best.  Hear in lies the real problem with the Troy Davis case, for if he were able to afford some high powered, hot shot attorney, we all know, nine times out of ten, the evidence in this case would have been found inconclusive and Troy Davis would be a free man.  The fact remains, we as a community must fortify our economic foundation by keeping our dollar in our community.  According to Dr. Claude Anderson “a dollar is supposed to bounce eleven times within its community before it bounces one time outside of it”, but we all know this.  Dr. Anderson is one of one hundred scholars that have been trying to get the African American community to understand that we have been programmed to be diametrically opposed to profit sharing and until we break this affliction of economic retardation we will have a million Troy Davis’s.  In light of this very well known notion, but still very ignored, ironically, indeed, I am Troy Davis, you are Troy Davis the entire  African American community is Troy Davis.       

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