Troy Davis executed despite protests

Troy Davis sat on death row for roughly 20 years. Many people nationwide believed that Troy Davis was innocent. He was executed on Sept. 21. On Aug. 19, 1989, police officer Mark MacPail was murdered

Troy Davis sat on death row for roughly 20 years. Many people nationwide believed that Troy Davis was innocent. He was executed on Sept. 21.

On Aug. 19, 1989, police officer Mark MacPail was murdered in Savannah, Georgia while trying to defend a man’s life at a Burger King where he was working security.

Seven witnesses testified that they saw Troy Davis kill Officer MacPail. Two others testified that Troy Davis confessed to the murder. The murder weapon was not recovered, but ballistic evidence linked to the bullets recovered at the scene of the shooting of Michael Cooper earlier that night that Davis was also charged for. He was convicted of murder and other charges, and was sentenced to death in August 1991.

Around one million people have signed petitions pushing for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency. Seven out of the nine witnesses were recanted or changed their testimonies. Some claimed that they were coerced by the police.

Pro Troy Davis groups claim that there was never any physical evidence linking Davis to the crimes. New witnesses have surfaced, bringing to light a new suspect.

“I feel like it’s just another example of how the American justice system is flawed,” said Ryan Kelly, a philosophy major and participant in the Troy Davis rally on Wednesday night.

“And how a lot of the individual courts in a lot of the southern states tend to have a lot of esoteric tendencies and a lot of really draconian policies. I mean if you go into the details of it, it just shows how corrupt the system is. I mean if you can’t find who did the murder, then why not blame it on the black guy? That’s just like the epitome of the flaws in our justice system,” Kelly said.

Execution dates were scheduled for July 2007, September 2008, and October 2008, but were stayed right before it was about to take place. When the word got out that the Troy Davis execution was scheduled for Sept. 21, 2011, protests formed all around the country, including Philadelphia.

Approximately one hundred protesters came together between City Hall and Temple University Center City Campus to raise awareness and possibly prevent the execution of Troy Davis, which at the time was only hours away. Prior to this, there was a rally at the Bell Tower on Main Campus on Sept. 16. One individual involved in the demonstration was sociology professor Sahar Sadeghi, who invited all of her students, though only two showed up.

“I think it got a lot of people angry, and a lot of people saw how unjust the justice system is, and how bad the death penalty is,” said Charles Cannon, Latin American Studies student, protester, and member of Temple Socialists Society.

“I think it went beyond the Troy Davis case, it was just a statement against the death penalty as well,” Cannon said. “We really showed people that for people who don’t come from families with means, people who aren’t of proper color, they don’t tend to be treated well by our justice system. That’s what happened to Troy Davis.”

There was a temporary stay on the execution, but the last minute appeal was denied by the United States Supreme Court and Troy Davis was executed the night of Sept. 21, 2011.

The role that the outcome of this case will play in society is still unknown, and depends on the beliefs of American citizens as to whether or not Troy Davis was or was not guilty. Despite his execution, there are still several different viewpoints present.

Bob Kaplan can be reached at bob.kaplan@temple.edu.

4 Comments

  1. You have an obligation to show both sides of this issue. If you had, you might have pointed out that those who believe Troy Davis to be innocent are ignorant to the actual facts of the case. There were 34 eyewitnesses at the trial, which proved without a shadow of a doubt that Troy Davis, dressed in a white T-shirt, murdered Officer MacPail in a brightly lit parking lot. 3 of the witnesses were US airmen.

    I loathe the death penalty, but this case is not about an innocent man being excecuted. And it is not about race.

  2. Why blame it on him when there’s no concrete evidence to nail him. Just because all “eye witnesses” who turn out to be white say he did it doesn’t mean they’re right. Why should eye witnesses under oath give two different testimonies? I guess the Bible doesn’t represent anything worth bringing out one’s conscience anymore. If the lie detector really does serve it’s purpose why was it not given a try or was there very little to be done to prove the innocence of a black man?, or rather, a black man before a murder trial has only “conviction” as an SOS option.

  3. I think you have a distorted version of the facts. My argument was that there was overwhelming “concrete evidence” to nail him.

    And ballistic evidence linking shell casings to his gun. Never heard of the ballistic evidence before? Mmmmm…..

    What does eyewitness race have to do with anything? Most of them were black, which you would know if you knew about the case.

  4. I understand that the jury was mostly black as well. The “Justice System” did review this case and the defense decided not to present most of the eye witnesses that recanted (I believe it was seven of the thirty-four), two were presented to the court. One of those two was a jailhouse snitch and lacked any credibility. The result was that there was not sufficient evidence to order another trial. I may have it wrong, I have not read the transcripts of the case, so everything I have said can be considered hearsay. I do know that the death penalty is not a deterrent and it is not supposed to be. It is only a tool to solve an extreme and immenently dangerous problem.

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