Tonight, I witnessed the execution of a seemingly innocent black man by way of lethal injection.
I have never been one to immerse myself in politics or things of the such but over the past few days, I saw continuous blog posts and articles on Troy Davis and his execution. At the time of his conviction, I was only one year old and now, 22 years later, this is my first time ever hearing about the case. Initially, I skimmed over the articles as they popped up in my RSS Reader until I decided to familiarize myself with this man's story.
Long story short: Davis was convicted of the murder of an off duty police officer (McPhail). Since the time of his conviction, seven of the nine (I believe) jurors have recanted their initial statement and ultimately, there is no proof that Davis was the shooter. That alone is enough to make me believe he is not a candidate for the death penalty, ESPECIALLY if evidence is lacking.
I was in bible study during the time the execution was to initially take place and was relieved to learn and hour later that they had postponed the execution, giving the Supreme Court time to make a decision as to whether or not they would let Davis live. It left me hopeful that this man may get another chance at life. In the 45 minutes it took me to get home from church, I learned that they had denied his appeal and my heart dropped at the thought of the state of Georgia killing this seemingly innocent man.
I watched as Anderson Cooper stoically delivered the news as it happened, showing us live footage of the steps of the Supreme Court where people were gathered, waiting to hear the news just as I was. The entire time, I'm on my couch, praying for Davis' soul and wondering if he was right with God. I'm also praying for his family to remain strong and know that God is the ultimate decision maker.
As I write this, I remember earlier today at work, I kept glancing at the clock thinking, "Man, that brother has only two more hours left to live." What does it feel like to know the exact minute you're scheduled to die? Do you panic or sit in silence and reflect on your life up until that point? I wonder if Davis wished he could have gone back in time and never went to the Burger King that night.
The reporters on CNN mentioned how the death penalty and race played a part tonight saying that more black people receive a death sentence for killing a white person. I do not know the true facts of this statement but it did touch me. I am pro black but not so quick to draw the race card, if that makes any sense. I don't blame the white man for all of the black man's misfortune.
Being a young African American woman, I feel it is natural for me to feel close to a Troy Davis in situations like these. I wondered briefly during the execution that if Davis was white, would I even be concerned. At first, I said yes because the story, void of race, is sad. But then, I dug deeper and admitted that I probably would not be following this case as long as I have. Yes, I would have been interested in the outcome but it would not have such an emotional bearing on my spirit as it does now and I'm sure I wouldn't be blogging about it.
My Twitter timeline blew up, telling of how the black people haven't arrived to shit yet and how the "judicial system is the modern day Jim Crow". Took me back to a conversation I had yesterday with my colleague about how racism is still prevalent here 2011. He's another pro black individual and he always talks about how Emmett Till's death wasn't that long ago and how Dr. King was just assassinated. His point being the same as my followers: Just because we have a black president does not negate the fact that we are still looked down upon as a race by other ethnicities and sometimes even our own.
Davis' story and execution has sparked an interest in me. An interest to want to get myself somewhat involved in politics and the workings of this world. I no longer want to be ignorant to the world outside my window. I will not overlook the articles that come across my reader any longer. I will continue to pray for both the MacPhail and Davis families in this very difficult time. I pray that if Davis truly was innocent that they find the true killer although that won't bring Davis back to his family. Hearing his final words brought on the tears I was trying to fight back.