Troy Davis memorial at Riverside Harlem on Sat.
W.A.T.E.R. 17 Special to the AmNews | 10/12/2011, 6:19 p.m.
"The state-sanctioned murder of Troy Davis is truly a 'legal' lynching," Attorney Roger Wareham told the Amsterdam News. "It reflects the resurgence of racism in the midst of this country's deepening economic crisis. The refusal at all levels of the U.S. government to stop Troy's execution is further proof that the United States of America must be brought before the International Criminal Court for commission of crimes against humanity."
"The system is racist! They lynched Troy Davis!" shouted hundreds of infuriated capital punishment abolitionists as they vented their frustrations in the streets of New York's Financial District last Thursday evening, Sept. 22.
The previous night, just past the time of Davis' 7 p.m. scheduled slaying, millions of death penalty opponents around the world monitored their media devices awaiting word on his status.
Hundreds of optimistic supporters of varying ethnicities, many wearing royal blue "I am Troy Davis" T-shirts, packed in to Harlem's St. Mary's Church. They jumped in jubilation-some even cried-when "Democracy Now" broke the news that the U.S. Supreme Court, headed by Clarence (Uncle) Thomas, had granted the 42 years young Georgian, who lay strapped down to an execution gurney, a temporary reprieve while they reviewed his case.
"A people, united, will never be defeated!" erupted the audience.
The see-saw of emotions dramatically shifted to a very somber mood three and a half hours later, when it was learned that the final last-second attempt to commute his sentence to life in prison was denied. A deadened silence overcame the deflated audience a short while later, when it was announced that Davis had died at 11:08 p.m.
"This is a racist, unjust system. They killed Troy to plant fear in Black men," contended Black Panther Blood Miller.
"Regretfully, Troy's case is that of a periodic public execution," assessed Black Panther Tarik Haskins.
What began as a peaceful protest at Union Square during Thursday evening's rush hour wound up a pushing and shoving struggle with the NYPD a short while later a block away from City Hall as protestors were barricaded in.
Their chants of "This is what democracy looks like!" changed to "This is what fascism looks like!" as more NYPD vehicles stormed in.
From the onset, cops attempted to intimidate demonstrators by pushing some and cutting off others, driving their scooters into the assembled crowd of people who were merely expressing their constitutional right to free speech.
"We are all Sean Bell. NYPD go to hell!" they responded.
The following days saw more of the same, with over 80 arrests on Saturday.
"Hundreds mobilized across the country for a day of outrage, who turned out in protest to say, as Troy Davis did, now is the time to end the death penalty for all of the Troy Davises who remain in cages on death row," proclaimed Lee Wengraf, from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
"Sadly, Troy Davis-like the Scottsboro Boys, like Mumia Abu-Jamal, like the Central Park Five, like Tookie Williams-has become another infamous instance of the racist rulers having their way with a Black person," concurred Brother Tarik. "We love you, Troy!"
Wengraf concluded, "Those of us who stand opposed to the death penalty and to the injustices of mass incarceration need to seize upon this moment to build the struggle for abolition, to rid the system of capital punishment and harsh sentencing for once and for all."
Davis is to be buried in Savannah, Ga., on Oct. 1.
His final words were: "I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight."
There will be a New York memorial for Davis on Saturday, Oct. 1, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Assembly Hall of the Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive (enter on Claremont Avenue).