ABOLISH THE RACIST, CLASSIST DEATH PENALTY!
We are elated to hear that Troy Davis' life has been spared, though, only temporarily. The National African American Congress was made aware of his case by bro. Jeff Hodges of 7000 Men, Macon , Ga. and Bro. Moorbey, At their urging we sent letters to local, State and national leaders in addition to other international and national attention. Bro. Davis reprieve could be short lived, though. We urge all to send a message that we are all Troy Davis, and that if his prosecution is put back on the table, he will be martyred in our hearts and minds forever. Anyone wishing to stop the execution of brother Troy Davis can contact Governor Perdue DIRECTLY at: http://gov.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us/0,2657,78006749_94820188,00.html
Patrick Dyer is a Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) activist and teaches at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. When the CEDP send Illinois’ first exonerated prisoner to Atlanta for Troy’s demonstration on Sept 11th, Patrick arranged to have Darby come and speak to students at his University. Darby, as always, was pointed and powerful with his remarks and urged students to get involved to end the death penalty. Yesterday Patrick was able to visit Troy Davis and he gives tells us of this visit below. Please feel free to post this far and wide — it is both heartfelt and somber.
Following is the school newspapers report of Darby’s visit to the University. Patrick can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Death Row visit with Troy A. Davis
Sunday September 21, 2008
By Patrick Dyer
Today I visited Troy Anthony Davis on Georgia's death row, a little over 48 hours before the state plans to put him to death for a crime he didn't commit. As I traveled the highway, through the red clay and green pine trees of Georgia this mild autumn Sunday morning listening to Bob Marley, I pondered what it might be like as an innocent man facing an execution in two days. Soon enough I arrived at the front wall of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, located in Butts County, GA. The scenery just inside the front gate on Prison Boulevard, with pond, trees, flowers, and chirping birds belies the heinousness of what lies at the end of the road - a massive penitentiary housing the state's death chamber for it's ritual execution of prisoners
After parking, I stood outside the entrance area with a small group of people who were waiting to visit other prisoners. One of those waiting referred me to the sign-in sheet, then added, "they'll get you when they feel like it". While I waited for the next 20 minutes I conversed with the group awaiting entrance, all of them upset and shocked that Troy was denied clemency. Biding my time, I stared at the words "wisdom", "justice", and "moderation" etched on Georgia's state seal.One of the first couple of his visitors to arrive, I met Troy Davis for the first time. Thanks to the relentless campaign waged by Troy, his family, and supporters, the name Troy Davis is known around the planet. Yet the person I met was humble and down-to-earth, quick to begin talking about the help that other death row prisoners need. Troy struck me immediately as a warm and compassionate person. He spent almost as much time talking about the injustice of other cases as he did about his own, repeatedly saying "this is much larger than Troy Davis."
Troy told me that he wanted me to tell people that it's time to say "enough is enough!" and to "demand a complete change in the system". We talked about all the support he has on the outside, with people around the world fighting for his life. Troy then spent time talking about some of the many injustices of his case, a legal lynching to be sure. He said that he, like so many others stuck on death row, were legally incapacitated by "procedural defaults" from their attorneys, many of them the fault of the Georgia Resource Center. Once an attorney with his legal team returned to court after lunch so intoxicated that her eyes were bloodshot and she reeked of alcohol.
At his habeas hearing held in a prison shack-turned-into-a-courtroom just off death row, Troy anxiously awaited the arrival of his family, who had spent their own money to rent vans to transport witnesses from Savannah. But as Troy walked into the shack-courtroom, his attorney was saying that neither his family nor his witnesses would be allowed to appear, given that it was "too expensive" to transport the witnesses.By the time effective legal counsel got on board with his defense, Troy's case was too far gone. In fact, one attorney with his private Washington, DC law firm told him that had they gotten the case five years earlier, Troy would be home by now. "And even if none of those witnesses recanted", Troy emphasized with his southern drawl as he leaned closer to me, "my fingerprints still don't match".
Troy also gave his analysis of why the Parole Board refused to grant clemency. Given that the board, appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, is stacked with "ex"-law enforcement and prosecution types, it's no surprise. "The police and prosecution tactics used in my case are the same ones they used and that are used all over. If they stop my execution because of the police interrogation methods and prosecutor misconduct, it exposes their entire system."
Over the course of the next hour, Troy's mother, sisters, brother, niece, nephew, and numerous supporters joined us in the caged visiting room. The six hour visitation flew by with a positive atmosphere of love and support. Most of the time was spent laughing, joking, and telling family stories that included childhood nicknames, teenage dating escapades, high school prom dates, and more.Eventually visiting hours wound down, and Troy was handcuffed then taken inside the entrance to one of the prison corridors, where we were allowed to join him for photographs. As a fellow prisoner snapped pictures, Troy arranged different combinations of his family and supporters for each picture, as prison guards observed from the perimeter.When the photo session ended, it was time for us to hug Troy goodbye. In a stirring and emotion-packed series of hugs, we all took turns saying goodbye. Two prisoners began printing the pictures as guards led Troy away. "Troy is such a good guy" one of them commented while we waited. Then suddenly someone yelled, "He's waving", and family members all strained to look through the prison bars down the long hallway to death row, seeing Troy's smiling face as his handcuffed
hands waved goodbye.
Official Student Newspaper of Kennesaw State University
Written by Dominique Richmond,
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
With the execution date for Troy Davis nearing, Darby Tillis made a guest appearance at KSU. He told his story of how he was exonerated in 1987 after spending nine years on death row, to a room full of First-Year Seminar students.
Tillis rode a Greyhound bus for 21 hours from Chicago in order to support the ‘Rally to Save Troy Davis’ at the Georgia State Capital, sponsored by Amnesty International and the NAACP, held on Sept. 11. Davis is a man on Georgia’s death row who was given an execution date of Sept. 23. After serving two years, Tillis was convicted on Oct. 15, 1979 of murdering two men. Although there was never anyevidence that linked him to those killings, he was imprisoned, tried and sentenced to death. It took not one, but five trials to set him free. Three of the trials ended in a hung jury, one was guilty and the last one set him free. A self-proclaimed "urban guerilla street preacher," Tillis sang and smiled as he told the students how he was just "a number on a legal brief." He talked about the joy of living and how he wants to build a better system to eliminate the killings of death row inmates. "Realize that we have a system that is far from good and go after change and make changes," said Tillis.
When asked what would he like the students to learn from his lecture, his response was, "look deep into the justice system; look at the flaws. The death penalty makes no purpose; take a stand and make it better." When asked what would he like the students to learn from his lecture, his response was, "look deep into the justice system; look at the flaws. The death penalty makes no purpose; take a stand and make it better."
Patrick Dyer, professor of the 1101 class, said, "I hope that the students who attended will think about the role of capital punishment in society, and critically examine this practice."
Tillis was the first to be exonerated; since then at least 129 innocent people have walked off of death row. According to Dyer, this topic relates to one of KSU 1101’s major learning objectives--that of developing the foundations for global learning. As part of global learning, the class engages in educational discussion on ethics, leaders hip, citizenship, global perspectives, diversity, inclusiveness and critical thinking. Dyer said, "Since Tillis had a couple of hours free Thursday morning, we scrambled to arrange for him to speak at KSU."
Immediately after his talk, Tillis was shuttled downtown to be part of a contingent that hand delivered over 23,000 petition signatures to the Board of Pardons and Parole, asking that Troy Davis not be executed.
America’s new slavery: Black men in prison