On September 21, the state of Georgia executed 42-year-old Troy Davis — after holding him on death row for 20 years and subjecting him to four different execution dates.
Davis’ death sentence was carried out despite the fact that seven of the nine original witnesses who testified against him recanted, and there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime: the 1989 murder of a white police officer.
Among The Campanil staff members, there is little support for the death penalty. Most of us agree we are in opposition to the state having ultimate power over life and death. We sincerely hope that the amount of press and outrage Davis’ execution garnered will be instrumental in helping to overturn the state’s continuing ability to exercise such brutality.
This brutal power is wielded in strikingly skewed numbers across race and class lines. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), more than 75 percent of murder victims in cases resulting in an execution were white even though nationally, roughly 50 percent of murder victims are white.
Today, the DPIC documents that about 41 percent of death row inmates are black, although black people only constitute 13.6 percent of the total U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009).
Although the evidence against Davis, a black man, may have been questionable at best, The Campanil staff feels the case itself is evidence of the fact that our judicial system is deeply flawed and informed by racism.