On September 21, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed following a 1991 conviction for murdering a Georgia police officer. Sounds like a particularly heinous crime; however, this conviction was based on witness testimony loaded with inconsistent recollections of the events. There has never been any physical evidence to implicate him, and now, seven of the nine original witnesses have recanted their testimony citing police coercion.
Oddly enough, the only two who stand by their original statements are police officers. Meanwhile, Sylvester Coles — a participant in the original skirmish who was the first to accuse Davis — has been implicated as the killer by nine people in signed affidavits.
All of this doesn’t mean Davis is innocent. In fact, Amnesty International doesn’t say that he is – only that serious doubt to his guilt remains. And many people feel that any time there is serious doubt, the death penalty should be off the table.
With the clock ticking, people all over America and around the world are asking the Georgia parole board to consider the case and halt the execution, including more than half a million Change.org petition signers, Pope Benedict XVI, President Jimmy Carter and the NAACP.
The band State Radio is offering a free download of a song called “Ode to Troy” on a website where you can sign an Amnesty International petition.
Davis supporters are even calling on Obama to speak out in favor of a stay of execution. But as in every human rights issue, politics is certain to play a role. This is a racially-charged case involving a black man accused and convicted of shooting a white police officer.
The clock is ticking.