On September 21, 2011 Troy Davis was shamefully murdered by the the state of Georgia. He was executed after being given the death penalty even though there were (and remain) serious doubts about his guilt.
In 1989, police officer Mark Allen MacPhail was killed near a fast food restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. Davis surrendered himself to police, confident in his innocence. His trial began in 1991, which found him guilt of murder. Davis appealed this decision many times and throughout the case discrepancies began to emerge.
The case against Davis contained no physical evidence. A murder weapon was never found. The whole case made against Davis was based on witness testimony. Seven of the nine non-police witnesses recanted or contradicted their testimonies after Davis's conviction, saying that they were coerced and pressured by police. One of the two witnesses who have not recanted is Sylvester Coles, a prime alternative suspect in the murder. Nine people have signed affidavit implicating Coles. Davis was never given a hearing which brought the credibility of the witnesses into question.
On death row since 1993, Davis maintained his innocence. He pointed to the entrenched racism in the United States judicial system and called for support. Activists answered, staging large demonstrations and protesting with pictures of Davis's face as masks. The phrase "I am Troy Davis" was coined to show how any citizen is left vulnerable to injustice when the death penalty continues to exist. Video projects, ranging from pleas for justice to birthday wishes to Davis were also recorded and distributed online. Despite creative and insightful protests and Davis's own efforts to appeal his sentence, the state refused to reconsider. Amid growing political pressure, Davis was executed. The death sentence is still legal in 34 states.
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