Saturday, September 20, 2008

Save Troy Davis

This originally appeared at

September 19, 2008

Jocks 4 Justice is a group of athletes and writers that has come together to speak out against racism and the criminal injustice system, and in defense of the victims of notorious miscarriages of justice.

The group previously organized in defense of the Jena 6, six Black high school students in Jena, La., who were targeted for prosecution after suffering a racist attack, and Gary Tyler, who has spent more than three decades of his life behind bars in Louisiana for a crime he didn't commit.

Now, Jocks 4 Justice is once again raising its voice to call for clemency for Troy Davis, an innocent man on Georgia's death row. Despite witnesses who say they were coerced by police into giving false testimony against Troy, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency.

Troy now faces an execution date of September 23, even though the U.S. Supreme Court isn't set to hear an appeal in his case until September 29.

TROY DAVIS is an African American man who has been on Georgia's death row for the past 18 years, convicted of killing a white police officer named Mark MacPhail. Now, after the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied Troy clemency, he faces execution on September 23.

But something stinks of "Southern justice" in the Peach state. The simple fact is that an innocent man could be careening toward a legal lynching.

Here are the undisputed facts:

--Troy's fingerprints didn't match those found at the crime scene.

--There was no gunshot residue on Troy's fingers. In fact, no physical evidence at all connects Troy to this crime.

--So why is Troy on death row? Because of testimony from nine people who said that Troy pulled the trigger. But an astounding seven of these nine people have since recanted their testimony in sworn affidavits, with several saying they were pressured to finger Troy by police. Of the two who haven't come forward, one is said to be the police's initial suspect, and the other testified that the shooter was left-handed, but Troy is right-handed.

These seven people were afraid. They were intimidated. But now they want to come forward and tell the truth, in open court--that Troy Davis did not kill Mark MacPhail. Yet the courts won't let a jury hear their compelling statements.

An innocent man will be put to death like a dog on September 23 unless we stop it. This is not justice. This is a lynching.

We, the undersigned Jocks 4 Justice, call upon the governor, the Supreme Court, or any controlling authority to stay Troy's execution. There are seven people ready to recant their testimony. For the sake of Troy, and the sake of justice, they deserve to be heard.

Jim Brown
NFL Hall of Fame; founder, Amer-I-Can

Dr. John Carlos
1968 Olympic bronze medalist and one-half of the immortal Black Power salute; Olympic Project for Human Rights

Lee Evans
1968 Olympic gold medalist and 400-meter Olympic champion; Olympic Project for Human Rights

Etan Thomas
NBA center, Washington Wizards; author, More Than an Athlete

Jim Bouton
Former New York Yankee; author, Ball Four

David Meggyesy
Western regional director, retired, NFL Players Association; former NFL linebacker

Jeff "The Snowman" Monson
Ultimate Fighting Championship

Walter Beach
Former NFL player, Cleveland Browns

Clifton McNeil
Former NFL player, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

Walter "The Flee" Roberts
Former NFL player, Cleveland Browns

Lester Rodney
Oldest living sportswriter; sports editor for the Daily Worker, 1936-1958

Scoop Jackson

Dennis Brutus
Former director, South African Non-Racialist Olympic Committee; professor emeritus of Africana studies, University of Pittsburgh

Leonard McNeil
Councilmember, San Pablo, Calif.; former draftee, Philadelphia Eagles; 1968 Olympic boycotter

Ron Davis
South African attaché, 1996 Olympics; former National Coach in Nigeria

Doug Harris
Former executive director, Athletes United for Peace

Dave Zirin
Sportswriter, the Nation; author, A People's History of Sports in the United States

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What you can do
Troy's supporters are calling on activists to make their voices heard in protests or other actions calling for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to halt Troy's execution and for the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold his appeal.

To call on the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its clemency decision, telephone board chair Gale Buckner at 404-657-9350, or fax her at 404-651-6670. You can also send the board an e-mail [2]. Call Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker at 404-656-3300, or fax him at 404-657-8733.

Find out more about Troy's case and how you can get involved at the Troy Anthony Davis [3] Web site. You can send words of encouragement to Troy by writing to: Troy A. Davis 657378, GDCP P.O. Box 3877 G-3-79, Jackson, GA 30233.

Marlene Martin's "Anatomy of a frameup," [4] published in the new issue of the International Socialist Review, documents the long history of injustices in Troy's case. Troy's sister, Martina Correia, was interviewed in the New Abolitionist, newsletter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, in an article titled "The fight for my brother Troy." [5]

See the Campaign to End the Death Penalty [6] Web site to learn more about the struggle against capital punishment across the country.

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