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Guilty Until Terminated
By Michael – Louis Ingram, BASN Associate Editor
NEW YORK CITY (BASN):On September 21, my colleague Tony McClean opened up that evening’s edition of our radio show “The Batchelor Pad” with a discussion regarding the status of one Troy Davis, who was scheduled for execution that evening by the Georgia Department of Corrections.
Davis, in prison for the alleged murder of a policeman, Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia was to die one hour into our 6:00 p.m. broadcast.
As the discourse was flowing and the clock was ticking, a feeling of numbness hit me in the pit of my soul. While none among us knows when time will take us out, it can’t get more ominous than having that time decided for you.
But by the time we signed off at 8:00 p.m. Davis was still alive. While pleas for clemency in lieu of what seemed to be a combination of paper trail and recanted testimonies were denied, all the prayers and appeals aside, as a journalist, the question I’m asking is…what?
Not as in “what the hell is going on?”, but “what’s the rush to kill this man if there is any reasonable doubt he may not have been the killer?”
It’s not as if Davis could’ve escaped while evidence is being reviewed. Granted, the death of an officer, who was a hero in doing his job, wanting someone – anyone – to pay for the crime is straight out of the Willie Lynch playbook when the suspect is a Black male.
I saw my share of reasonable doubt here in the “Central Park Jogger” rape case here years ago. When the group of young Black & Latino alleged perpetrators were writing their “confessions,” one wrote about how he “pushed up her skirt.” Now it’s been a long time since the track team, but not so long that any jogger would wear a skirt during a run.
Of course that never stopped the wheels of justice from grinding away at the souls of those kids.
It didn’t stop the mainstream press from running away from the obvious setup by not asking about that very nebulous written statement, either…
So when it comes to the minority or the poor, it’s not worth waiting to get it right. The irony in all this is if Davis was proven to have done this, then he should have paid with his life, whether the murdered person was a policeman or not.
But it wasn’t worth finding out.
The state of Illinois found out often enough through a group known as The Innocence Project that there were so many egregious situations with convictions re death sentences that then – Gov. George Ryan instituted a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000. While countless lives were spared and some innocent men set free, how many died because – it wasn’t worth finding out?
Troy Davis found out he wasn’t worth it.
A last minute presentation to the Supreme Court did not sway any further effort to stay the execution. Davis was executed by lethal injection at10:53 p.m. and pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m.
While we cover sports here as our main vocation, make no mistake; a deadly game was played here.
For while an innocent may have died, Troy Davis wouldn’t be the first one, and as we see from how this all played out, based on where you live in this country, he won’t be the last; unless prosecutors who suppress or withhold information which would aid in proving one’s innocence get the same penalties imposed on them as Troy Davis.
When Davis died, a political football was kicked off. Rest in peace, Mr. Davis; time may one day prove you to be right. And then the question becomes…why?
Copyright c 2011 Michael – Louis Ingram