Posts tagged Troy Davis
Posts tagged Troy Davis
[TW for racial violence]
by Kung Li. From Leaving Evidence
The Occupy Atlanta occupiers renamed their campsite Troy Davis Park yesterday in honor of what would have been Troy Davis’s 43d birthday. Today is Columbus Day. It seems a good day to know something about the little patch of grass where Occupy Atlanta is braving the rain.
A month after the end of the Civil War, a train carrying Jefferson Davis pulled into the Atlanta depot two blocks from where Occupy Atlanta has pitched its tents. The President of the Confederate States of America had been caught in South Georgia as he tried to flee. The train stopped in Atlanta to pick up coal on its way to Virginia, where he would await trial for treason.
When the Georgia Legislature convened later that year, it dutifully ratified the Thirteenth Amendment as it was required to do to reenter the Union. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, but with an enormous loophole. Neither slavery or involuntary servitude, it read, shall exist in the United States,except as punishment for crime.
The 13th Amendment ratified, the all-white Georgia Legislature turned around and passed the Black Codes, effectively reinstating slavery in Georgia. The Codes required former slaves to enter into labor contracts, with wages to be paid by the Master totaling – after deductions for food, shelter and penalties for days not worked – two cents an hour. That’s how Georgia’s antelbellum 1% had rolled before the war, and that’s how they wanted to roll after. The only industry had been cotton, so the Black Codes were written to keep freedmen working the same fields they had worked as slaves.
Many were trapped by the Black Codes, but not everyone. Atlanta was the destination for the men and women who walked off their plantations in south Georgia in defiance of the Black Codes and came to the city to live as free people. They gathered in downtown Atlanta – on the streets of what is now Woodruff Park – to look for work and to build a new life. They were confronted by a new Vagrancy Law, the enforcement of the Black Codes that made it illegal to wander or stroll about in idleness without a labor contract.
When the threat of arrest was not enough to drive Black men and women back to the plantations, the real arrests began. Joseph Brown was arrested on Decatur Street in 1868, one of hundreds. Rather than picking cotton under a labor contract, he was in Atlanta without work. The charge: vagrancy.
Mr. Brown and other freedmen who were sentenced as vagrants were not sent to prison. Georgia’s prison had been burned during the war, and there was no money to rebuild. Rather, they were leased out to plantation owners, railroad companies and coal mines. Georgia’s first lease of in 1868 was to a railroad company: $2500 bought 100 Black men, arrested for vagrancy or loitering and forced to work not as slaves but as convicts.
This was the start of the modern criminal justice system. It was started, you might say, right here where Occupy Atlanta will be sleeping tonight, in Woodruff Park, by the post-Civil War plantation owners intent on keeping the work of black men and women cheap and available.
By the time the practice of leasing people convicted of crimes out to private parties was abolished (by the Georgia Legislature, in 1908), convict leasing had turned the primary function of the South’s judicial systeminto the maintenance of white control over black labor.
At Troy Davis’s funeral.
In front of a huge group of mourning Black people.
Woooooooooooooow. that is a whole special level of fucked up right there
The magic starts at 41:30 for those of you who want to witness the shit go down.
- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, arguing in 2009 why Troy Davis’ execution should proceed immediately, without any further interference from the Supreme Court. Death panels in America are real. (via socialismartnature)
Scalia has continually shown his belief that courts are about procedure not about justice. What is shameful is that he is not alone in doing this. The US has and will continue to murder the innocent, the oppressed, the non-white. And too many people are proud of that.
Just to reiterate: one of the sitting justices of the highest court in this country, in theory the final place one may turn if all other avenues of justice have failed you, has outright said “We do not care about the actual innocence or guilt of the people we execute in this country. Whether you are guilty or innocent, or whatever flaws there may have been with the original case and trial that condemned you, we don’t give a flying fuck: we will kill you anyway, and consider that justice.”
I don’t even know what can be said at this point.
That is a strange definition of a “fair” trial.
Today I went to the Day of Outrage rally at Union Square. Then it turned into the March of Outrage, heading toward Wall Street.
Police presence got heavier and heavier the further downtown we got. They tried to barricade us with motorcycles and revved and pushed into our hips and legs every so often, they physically pushed us, they waved their little nightsticks, and this video in particular is mainly of the pig who fucking grabbed my arms from behind to try and arrest me for bumping into him as I walked. (Thankfully he was alone, and someone from ANSWER Coalition was able to physically rescue me.)
By the time we hit Wall Street it was like Planet of the Cops, but I nearly passed out from dehydration in front of the Wall Street NYSC—the staff of which was perfectly nice to me and the two fellow marchers who helped me, until I was able to stand and walk over to ask if I could use the bathroom (and no I couldn’t, the cops had monopolized the bathrooms upstairs, now get out, they told me). I was still feeling weak so I started my slow way to the 1 train, and I almost got footage of the cops basically knocking a guy behind the barricade off his feet and making the crowd surge in the process.
Moral of the story: Fuck da police.
Going to reblog all of Hups’s videos so if you follow us both, apologies in advance for the double posts.
[video: recorded by hupsoonheng from the crowd of marchers. some are shouting “We are all Troy Davis!” together. they march along the street. it’s after dark. a cop on a motorbike pushes against the marchers. hupsoonheng indicates another cop on foot (“there he is”).]
sorry if the video description’s not good enough.
Haven’t watched ‘cause I don’t do video much, but this seems important enough to at least spread around.
Is definitely more criminal than it is just.
Thursday, September 22 · 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Union Square, New York
After halting his execution in a last minute reprieve on Wednesday night, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to consider Troy Davis’s request for a stay of execution.
He was murdered by the state of Georgia, a little after 11 pm, Wednesday night.
Hundreds turned out in Harlem on Wednesday before the final decision came in. We vowed that we would rally tomorrow in Union Square at 5.
For everyone who is heart-broken…
For everyone who is outraged…
For everyone who has been touched by Troy’s case…
Troy may be lost but his fight goes on. FORWARD THIS MESSAGE, and don’t let his state-sanctioned murder pass in silence.
Going to look for one of these nearer me. This is important.
…In recent weeks, leading Republicans have made plain they don’t believe in government-run health care (lo, even unto death). They don’t believe in inoculating children again HPV (lo, even unto death). They don’t believe in government-run disaster relief (ditto, re death), the minimum wage, Social Security, or the Federal Reserve. There is nothing, it seems—from protecting civil rights to safeguarding the environment—that big government bureaucracies can’t foul up.
But there is one exception: killing people. These same Republicans who are dubious of government’s ability to do anything right have an apparently bottomless faith in the capital-justice system. Everything is broken in America, they claim—except the machinery of death.
[W]hen you hear Republicans moan about the bureaucratic burdens and failures of government-run education, health care, and disaster-relief systems, doesn’t any part of you wonder why they have such boundless confidence in the capital justice system that stands poised to execute Troy Davis […] in Georgia? […] Troy Davis has a claim of actual innocence in the death of off-duty policeman Mark MacPhail. Since his conviction, more than 20 years ago, seven of the nine nonpolice witnesses against Davis have recanted their testimony, claiming they were coerced or intimidated by the police. There is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime.
So grievous are the doubts about Davis’ guilt in this murder that William Sessions, the FBI director under Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton, wrote an editorial today arguing that Davis should not be executed next week because “serious questions about Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion, and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction.” Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr has similarly written that “even for death penalty supporters such as myself, the level of doubt inherent in this case is troubling.”
If you believe, as do the GOP presidential frontrunners, that government bureaucracies lead inexorably to error, cover-up, and waste, then there is no better place to start looking than the capital punishment system, which sentences and executes defendants in ways that are sloppy, racist, and corrupt….
[image: tweet from @Moonsatellite: “Twitter has blocked #TroyDavis as a trending topic, citing it as “offensive”, while displaying #youknowyoughetto. Ask them why -> @Twitter”.]