Let us not mince words: The state of Georgia just murdered Troy Davis. The state coroner will list homicide as his cause of death. But he wasn't the first and, sadly, he won't be the last person slaughtered in the name of U.S. law and order. There are today dozens more people scheduled to be killed by states, according to Amnesty International. Their likely deaths represent the ultimate act of perversity in a system that destroys untold thousands of primarily black and brown lives every day.
The execution came following a harrowing and wrenching night for Davis's family and supporters all over the world. Hundreds had gathered for a vigil outside of the Jackson, Ga., prison where Davis was put to death. Literally minutes before Davis's scheduled 7 p.m. execution, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed the killing in order to review a final appeal. A little over three hours later, news broke that the court had refused to block the execution. He was slain at 11:08 p.m. eastern.
As the world waited those agonizing hours, the crowd chanted, sang songs and prayed. Perhaps the most moving speaker of all was Davis's 17-year-old nephew DeJaun Davis-Correia. Jen Marlowe has reported for Colorlines.com on how DeJaun grew up visiting his uncle in prison, and was inspired by his plight to get involved in the fight against inequity in the criminal justice system. In an interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman outside of the prison, DeJaun said pointedly, "I am Troy Davis, we are Troy Davis, and you could be Troy Davis, too, Ms. Amy Goodman."
Amnesty International director Larry Cox offered that, importantly, the massive movement that developed around this case offers an opportunity to question this country's values. And it offers a chance to engage the many people who are repulsed that the state would murder in our names and yet remain silent about it. "We have to take people who were against the death people and never did anything about it," Cox told Goodman, and mobilize them. "Now is the time."