Troy Davis’ 22-year ordeal is over. The state of Georgia executed Davis on Wednesday night. In the years since he was convicted of killing an off-duty police officer, seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him recanted their testimony and his cause gained many supporters, among them the pope and Jimmy Carter.
Just a few minutes after he was scheduled to die, the crowd that had gathered to protest Davis’ execution began wailing in disbelief and jubilation as word spread that the Supreme Court of the United States had delayed the execution in order to consider an appeal. But less than an hour later, the court rejected Davis’ case, allowing prison officials to proceed with the execution.
NAACP President Ben Jealous told Amy Goodman on Wednesday, “The world is ashamed of our nation tonight,” echoing the sentiments of many of the Davis supporters who went to the prison to voice their opposition to the state-sanctioned homicide.
(Dave Zirin of The Nation outlined the case for Davis, calling his execution “little more than a legal lynching.”)
The day before he was executed, Davis said, “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.”
Inspired by Davis, thousands of Americans took to the streets and Twitter to demonstrate that they will not stop fighting until the death penalty is abolished.
Troy Davis died—was killed—at 11:08 p.m. Eastern time, Sept. 21, 2011.
According to media witnesses, Davis maintained his innocence until the end, telling the family of the off-duty officer he was convicted of killing that he was innocent. His last words were: “For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls; may God bless your souls.” —PZS
World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (CC-BY-SA)