November 24, 2017

Troy Davis May be Gone, but Hope Never Dies

Noor Pirani ’15
Contributing writer

A black man lies on the gurney, his eyes shut tight. In the corners of his eyes, tears glisten. He knows this is his last moment, he knows that he is innocent. His family members’ faces crumble with grief, with sorrow.

A solitary sob breaks the silence.

Troy Davis is gone.

In November 1989, a Georgia grand jury accused Troy Anthony Davis of shooting police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, who was helping a homeless man in need outside a restaurant. On September 21, 2011, Davis was put to his death in Jackson Prison. The state had postponed three previously planned executions.

Is it fair? Is it fair to fight murder with murder? Is it fair to worry a cancerous sister, to distress a beloved niece and nephew, to sadden a whole family? Is it fair to cause such grief and worry to so many people, over a period of twenty two-years?

No.

There was never any real, physical evidence that Davis shot MacPhail. One eyewitness claimed she could see one hundred twenty feet in the dark, and recognize Davis. Another eyewitness said she could not identify the face of the shooter. Another eyewitness said he could see through his car’s tinted window, and be sixty percent sure that the killer was Davis. Many eyewitnesses’ stories were doubtful. The parole board had promised Martina Correla, sister of Davis, that they would not execute someone if there was doubt.

They lied.

Was it fair? Was it really fair to lie to the grieving sister of a person on the death row?

No.

Davis had many supporters, including family and many friends. Even people who didn’t know Davis personally attended protests and rallies to try to save his life. Supporters across the world, from France to India, expressed their encouragement and hope that the state would not execute Davis.

To their dismay, a 240,000-signature petition could not save his life.

Yet even though Davis physically departed from our lives, he left a strong force behind: hope. Hope that investigators will prove that Davis did not kill MacPhail, that his pleas were genuine. Hope that, one day, such unfairness will not exist. Hope that supporters’ selfless service to prove Davis’s innocence will pay off.

Hope can never die.

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