*(Atlanta, GA) – Today, the NAACP condemned the Georgia State Board of Paroles and Pardons for its decision to deny clemency to Troy Anthony Davis and to move forward with the execution. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous has strongly advocated for clemency in this case.
“In moments of immense sadness, moments that shake the foundation of our faith in the justice system and in mankind, there are often no words that can adequately express one’s grief and outrage,” said Jealous. “Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence, the execution will proceed and Troy Davis will live his last day on September 21.”
The Board ignored its own decision in 2007, vowing that the execution would not go forward unless there was “no doubt” about guilt. In a case that has garnered national attention, seven of the nine witnesses against Mr. Davis have since recanted their statements incriminating him, several citing police pressure to fabricate statements. At least three of the jurors from Davis’ trial called for Davis to be granted clemency, one saying that if she knew at trial what she knows now, Troy Davis would have been found not guilty.
“We are appalled and outraged by the Parole Board’s erroneous decision to uphold the state’s death sentence to murder an innocent man,” stated Jealous. “There is too much doubt to proceed with an execution. No amount of deliberation will change the fact that the case against Mr. Davis has too many holes.”
The NAACP Georgia State Conference has been at the forefront of calling for justice on behalf of Mr. Davis, and strongly condemned the scheduled execution, citing major weaknesses in the case against Mr. Davis. “We find it unconscionable that the Board would allow this execution given its prior ruling and despite the nearly 1,000,000 voices calling for justice – including 40,000 from Georgia and over 10,000 from Savannah, 3,300 members of the clergy and 1,500 legal professionals – in support of Mr. Davis,” said Edward O. Dubose, President, Georgia State Conference, NAACP. “To allow this execution to go forward without a re-examination of the facts and the alternate suspect is an injustice to both families, to the jurors who sentenced Davis to death and to the people of Chatham County.”
On the evening of August 19, 1989, Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail was gunned down while he worked as a part-time security guard. To date, there is no physical evidence connecting Mr. Davis to the crime and some individuals have pointed to an alternate suspect as the real killer.
“Troy’s family has been moved by the efforts of the NAACP and supporters around the world, and our thoughts and prayers are with them now as they turn to look into the face of the cruelest kind of injustice,” stated Mr. Jealous.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
Joi Ridley / NAACP