A son, a brother, an uncle that could be belong to any family… that’s how complete strangers now describe convicted cop killer, Troy Anthony Davis. About a hundred of Davis’ supporters rallied outside of the Sloppy Floyd Federal office Building in Atlanta, Georgia Monday morning, just a few feet away from where the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles will decide Davis’ fate.
Davis,42, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday for the 1989 murder of Savannah Police Officer Mark McPhail. Davis has faced execution three times before, and each time the sentence was postponed. His supporters hope that grace has not run out.
“Some people may guess he’s innocent, but in the three times I’ve met with him face to face, I know without a shadow of a doubt he’s innocent,” said Edward Dubose, president of the Georgia Conference of The NAACP. “If they kill Troy Davis, they’ve killed the wrong person.”
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The NAACP and Amnesty International are part of a growing number of supporters in Atlanta who insist on Davis’ innocence, because they say there is just too much doubt in the case. Seven witnesses have signed affidavits, recanting their testimony and indicating that police coerced them into implicating Davis. Meanwhile, several other people have signed affidavits implicating another man. “How in the world can seven witnesses be credible enought to convict a man and not credible enough to clear him, “says Mark Clements of the Campaign to End The Death Penalty.
Some supporters camped out overnight near the Georgia State Capitol in silent protest. Others formed a prayer circle Monday to pray for what they call justice. It is a message that spans beyond Georgia and, even outside of the United States.
To date, nearly 1 million “Save Troy Davis” petitions have been hand delivered to the Georgia Board of Pardons, the latest 150,000 were delivered Monday morning before the board began to deliberate.
“We know that Troy Davis is innocent. We’re going to prove it. This isn’t just about Troy Davis. It’s about family. We’re all family,” said student activist Amanda Watson.
If the Georgia Board of Pardons does not grant clemency, there is no official next legal step, but The NAACP is calling on Chatham County, Ga., District Attorney Larry Chisolm to move to withdraw the death warrant. In the meantime, the rallies will continue.
The Free Troy Davis Committee says it is in the planning stages of organizing a protest in Woodruff Park in Atlanta if the board of pardons does not hand down a favorable decision.
The Davis family attended today’s hearing, but were not immediately available for comment.
When asked how Davis is reacting to the support and to today’s proceedings, the NAACP’s Dubose said: “We’re trying to cheer him up, but he’s in very good spirits and [is] actually cheering us up. He says either way he’s going to be free. We hope he’s free on this end.”
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles could hand down a decision on whether to pardon Troy Davis as early as 4:00 pm today or as late as tomorrow evening.