Ga. Death Penalty Opponents Discuss Tactics
Updated: Thursday, 22 Sep 2011, 11:32 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 22 Sep 2011, 10:21 PM EDT
Video by George Franco/MyFoxAtlanta
Supporters of Troy Davis insist the case will only strengthen their argument to abolish the death penalty, but death penalty advocates say the right man was put to death.
With the world watching, tensions flared and emotions went from elation to deep disappointment as protestors first thought Troy Davis’ life had been spared but later learned the Supreme Court did not halt his execution. His death pushed supporters to try to abolish the death penalty.
Davis was executed by lethal injection Wednesday for the 1988 murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer. In his final statement, Davis maintained his innocence.
“We intend for Troy’s name to stand for, in history, the beginning of the end of the death penalty,” said Janice Mathis of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition
The activist group rainbow push coalition met Thursday to devise a plan to do just that. They say doubt in the Troy Davis case, witnesses who recanted and questionable ballistics evidence will help convince more people that the death penalty is wrong.
“We're hoping ultimately, that the state of Georgia legislatures. as well as the federal legislature lawmakers review the death penalty and ultimately abolish it completely,” said Richard Holmes of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Jeff Wiggs, president of the Dekalb Fraternal Order of Police says only defense attorneys were going public with their doubts about details in the Davis case involving the murder of Savannah police officer Mark McPhail.
He says when more all information comes out, he believes most Americans will stand behind the death penalty decision.
“I think the majority of the people if they really took themselves away from all the atmosphere and all the hype and all the media coverage of this and really sat down and thought about it, most people, they want justice,” Wiggs said.
Members of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition say they are working with state lawmakers to try to convince members of the legislature to take a second look at the death penalty in Georgia.
Some of the roughly two dozen people at the meeting said they needed to register to vote new supporters who joined their cause over the Davis case. Joe Beasley of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition says members of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles should be ousted because they did not commute Davis' sentence.