Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Alzheimer'sAuthorities in northwest Georgia say a man shot and killed a 72-year-old who he thought might be an intruder but who turned out to be a wandering Alzheimer’s patient.

Walker County police told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that Ronald Westbrook had walked about 3 miles in the sub-freezing temperatures before knocking on Joe Hendrix’s door just before 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Westbrook,who had one or two dogs with him, apparently wandered three miles away from a home he shared with his wife, who did not know he was gone until contacted by police. Her suffering can only be imagined. Westbrook was wearing only a light jacket and straw hat in sub-freezing temperatures.

When he knocked the door, Hendrix’s fiancee didn’t answer, instead calling police.

Sheriff Steve Wilson, who used to attend church with the ex Air Force pilot patient, said before deputies arrived, Hendrix went into the backyard with his handgun, where he saw Westbrook in silhouette.

Wilson says the 34-year-old Hendrix recalled giving Westbrook several verbal commands, but the advanced Alzheimer’s patient didn’t respond. Reports say Alzheimer’s had left the old man virtually mute.

Hendrix then fired four shots. One hit Westbrook, in the chest, killing him.

Wilson says charges could be filed but says Hendrix didn’t violate any laws by walking out into his own yard. But according to local newspaper The Chatanoogan, he is currently unlikely to be charged.

With anything.

Georgia believes in the “no requirement to retreat” principle. Even from tired, old, cold, straw-hatted men, who can’t speak to defend themselves. I just hope their legislators are proud of themselves.

Troy Davis & his family

Troy Davis and his family in a picture taken before the prison cut off “contact visits.”

Two days ago – incredibly, really, as it seems like just yesterday – it was two years since The State of Georgia, and America, put an innocent man to death.

Two years that Troy Davis and his family have had robbed from them. Two years of mourning.

Two years since the largest ever worldwide campaign for an innocent man to be freed when his conviction was obviously flawed was completely ignored by the parole institutions in Georgia, the Georgia Governor, the Supreme Court of the USA, and ultimately, President Obama. Two years when the State of Georgia knew better than a former head of the FBI, former president Jimmy Carter, 35 members of Congress, and even the Pope.

Not to mention petitions with literally millions of signatures on them.

That’s how obdurate the desire to kill an innocent man was.

Two years in which the anger has not dimmed.

In Troy’s memory – if you signed a petition, if you stood with a placard, if you wrote letters or emails, if you called your representative, if you commented on Facebook, if you stood vigil, if you cried – now you can continue your personal witness and purchase I Am Troy Davis, published this week and written by Jen Marlowe and Troy’s sister, Martina Correia-Davis, who died of breast cancer soon after her brother was killed.

It’s the story of Troy, his remarkable family, and the on-going struggle to end the death penalty.

Can’t say it better than Susan Sarandon: “I Am Troy Davis is a painful yet very important book” — unless it’s Maya Angelou: “Here is a shout for human rights and for the abolition of the death penalty. This book, I Am Troy Davis,should be read and cherished.”

The book tells the intimate story of an ordinary man caught up in an inexorable tragedy. From his childhood in racially-charged Savannah; to the confused events that led to the 1989 shooting of a police officer; to Davis’ sudden arrest, conviction, and two-decade fight to prove his innocence; I Am Troy Davis takes us inside a broken legal system where life and death hangs in the balance. It is also an inspiring testament to the unbreakable bond of family, to the resilience of love, and that even when you reach the end of justice, voices from across the world will rise together in chorus and proclaim, “I am Troy Davis”, I stand with you.

eve

“This book will devastate you …” Eve Ensler

If you make your purchase through the non-profit publisher, Haymarket Books, it’ll cost you just $18 to commemorate one man’s courageous yet ultimately tragic fight for justice.

And, by doing so, to make your personal stand against a justice system which is laughingly labyrinthine and slow, where process regularly overpowers any consideration of issues of right or wrong, where the application of the death penalty is obviously biased heavily against racial minorities, and which regularly has executed, and still does execute, innocent people.

A place, in other words, where “And justice for all” is clearly a sick joke. If that’s not what you want America to be, then buy the book. Buy it for friends. Buy it and donate it to your local library, or school. Buy it.

I am still Troy Davis.

Salecia Jackson. Looks pretty scary to me. Photo AP

 

I reproduce this article in full, without further comment, except to note my utter astonishment.

By Paul Joseph Watson. Infowars.com
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Police in Milledgeville, Georgia handcuffed and charged a 6-year-old girl (seen above) with assault for throwing a tantrum in school but instead of apologizing for such unnecessary treatment, the chief of police praised his officers for their actions.

After kindergartner Salecia Johnson knocked over a shelf that injured the principal, cops were called, Johnson was handcuffed and taken to the police station where she was charged with assault.

Milledgeville’s acting police chief Dray Swicord praised the actions of the arresting officer for dealing with the deadly threat posed by the girl.

“Our policy is that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule,” Swicord told 13WMAZ.

“A 6-year-old in kindergarten. They don’t have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child,” said Earnest Johnson, Salecia’s father.

This is just the latest example in a growing trend of police officers treating young children as dangerous criminals. Zero tolerance has obliterated common sense and the routine arrest of children is another symptom that America is now a police state.

Back in December a 13-year-old middle school student in Albuquerque, New Mexico was handcuffed and hauled off to juvenile detention for “burping audibly” in class.

In January, 12-year-old Sarah Bustamantes was arrested by police in Austin, Texas for spraying perfume on herself.

Also in January, cops in Charlton, Massachusetts were despatched to collect an overdue library book from a 5-year-old girl.

A 6-year-old San Francisco boy was detained for two hours by the principal and forced to confess to “sexual assault” for brushing the leg of his friend during a game of tag. The boy was later charged with “sexual battery”.

A similar over-reaction ensued when an Orange River Elementary School assistant principal called cops after seeing a girl kiss a boy during PE class, labeling it a possible sex crime.

In Stockton, California, a 5-year-old boy with ADHD was “handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was charged with battery on a police officer,” after the cop claimed the boy had kicked him in the knee.

In Florida, 6-year-old girl weighing 40 pounds was handcuffed and then sent to a mental health facility for screaming and throwing objects in class.

These are just a handful of the cases that have occurred recently and there are probably scores more that don’t even get reported by the media.

How on earth can we expect police officers to deal with real crime and actual dangerous criminals when a significant number of them seem to be intimidated by children who throw temper tantrums?

When did cops become so pathetic?

The fact that elementary school children are being arrested for misbehaving or being charged with sexual assault for over-enthusiastic games of tag serves as another urgent warning that both law enforcement and the school system in America are rotten to the core and run by complete morons who have dispensed with all semblance of common sense.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show and Infowars Nightly News.

Troy Davis and his family

Troy Davis and his family before the jail cut off "contact visits"

Readers of this blog will remember that I and many others spent a few weeks a while back focused with increasing horror and dread on the case of Troy Davis, an innocent man on Georgia’s Death Row who, despite all evidence against him crumbling over the course of his incarceration, and an international outcry and campaign by literally millions of people, was executed on September 21.

If you search Troy Davis on this site you will find innumerable articles outlining why he was – unquestionably – wrongly executed, to the eternal shame of all those involved in killing an innocent man.

Remember, what happened to Troy Davis could happen to anyone.

Remember, what happened to Troy Davis could happen to anyone.

Strapped to a gurney waiting for the chemicals to flood through the tubes into his veins so he could die, Troy Davis’s last words were to pray forgiveness for those about to put him to death. I have no doubt that he watches us now from somewhere in Paradise, just as I am certain that a special place in Hell has been reserved for those members of the Georgia judicial system that callously sent him there.

I spent several weeks campaigning on the Troy Davis case, but some people have spent several years, such as Jen Marlowe. Working with Amnesty International, she came to know and love the Davis family, and her work on their behalf continues – in no small part because their tragedies didn’t end with Troy’s execution.

Indeed, the tragedies didn’t even start there. Troy’s mother Virginia died suddenly in April 2011, a death her daughter Martina was sure was a result of simple heartbreak over Troy’s failure to win a commutation of his sentence. Martina herself had been struggling with breast cancer for a decade when Troy was killed; two months after burying her brother, Martina herself died.

The boy they all left behind, De’Jaun Davis-Correia, is an outstanding high school student who looked up to his uncle as a father-figure and is today hoping to attend Georgia Tech, where he wants to major in industrial engineering. It is a sign of the strength and the beauty of this family that De’Jaun is already a dedicated death penalty activist, and has been named by The Root as one of its “25 Young Futurists” for 2012.

As Emily Hauser (who wrote the original of this article, which I am merely editing) “I cannot imagine how he gets up in the morning, much less makes plans.”

But sorrow and loss aren’t the end of it. Three funerals in the space of seven months and years of cancer-related hospitalizations have resulted in bills that would overwhelm anyone.

For that reason, Jen (who is currently working on a book about Troy and Martina) is raising funds for the Davis family. Here’s the letter she sent out this week:

The Davis family lost three warriors for justice in the past seven months. Virginia Davis, the matriarch of the family, passed in April, just two weeks after the US Supreme Court denied Troy’s final appeal, paving the way for the state of Georgia to set a new execution date.

According to Martina, her mother died of a broken heart–she couldn’t bear another execution date. Troy was executed on September 21, despite an international outcry over executing a man amid such overwhelming doubt.

Troy’s sister and staunchest advocate, Martina, succumbed to her decade-long battle with cancer on December 1, exactly two months after her brother Troy’s funeral, leaving behind a teenaged son.

There are still outstanding medical and funeral bills that the Davis family must pay.

The Davis family has had to bear more tragedy and sorrow than any family should ever have to. Together, we can ensure that the financial aspect of these losses will not be a burden to them.

I have set up a simple way to contribute online to the family. I hope you will choose to help, and that you will share this information with others. All you have to do is click this link: https://www.wepay.com/donations/fund-for-troy-davis-s-family 

Any amount will be highly appreciated and will help them greatly!

Please circulate this information to others you think may be interested in helping.

Any questions can be directed to Jen Marlowe at donkeysaddle@gmail.com.

In solidarity with all the Davis family has been fighting for and in sorrow for all they have had to endure,
Jen Marlowe
Troy Davis Campaign

If you are in a position to help, please do so. I will certainly be turning out my spare change pocket to see what I can do.

As Emily says: Troy Davis is not here to help his family through this ordeal – those of us who fought for his life must now do so for him.

Perhaps, in some small way, we can all make the world a better place by getting this innocent family back on track. And pray that no member of our family is ever caught up, inextricably, in a legal nightmare that ends in their cold-blooded judicial murder.

Don’t think about doing something another time: click the link and send whatever you can, right now:

https://www.wepay.com/donations/fund-for-troy-davis-s-family

Teresa Culpepper

Teresa Culpepper's nightmare began Aug. 21, when she called police to report her truck had been taken from in front of her Hawkins Street home. She ended up being arrested for an aggravated assault allegedly committed by another woman named Teresa.

Could this happen in any other locale in the “civilised world” except somewhere in the south of the United States? I think not.

An Atlanta woman says she was mistakenly imprisoned for 53 days because police confused her for someone else with the same first name.

Teresa Culpepper says she called police to report that her truck had been stolen in August. But when they showed up at her home, they arrested her for aggravated assault committed by another Teresa.

“All she has is the same first name. The only descriptions that match are ‘Teresa’ and ‘black female,’” Culpepper’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant told media.

Culpepper didn’t have the same address, birth date, height, or weight as the Teresa who was supposed to be arrested.

Merchant says Culpepper, who was legitimately convicted of a misdemeanor in the 90s, lives in a rough neighborhood where police are frequently on patrol.

She and her family were unable to post the $12,000 bond to get her out of jail, so she wasn’t released until her public defender found the victim of the assault and brought him to the court to say Culpepper was not the “Teresa” he had accused.

“I just don’t think in another side of town this would have ever happened,” Merchant says.

She says the city must settle with Culpepper or face a lawsuit. She says the police department is investigating the incident. “I didn’t know what to do,” Culpepper told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I didn’t know how to get out this situation.”

This is the same state, remember, that killed Troy Davis despite ample evidence he was innocent.

To be poor and black in the Southern states of the United States? And female?

No thank you, Jim Bob, Sir.

The American justice system seems to be comprehensively broken. When on earth will the ordinary folk of this great nation rise up and demand from its legislators and law enforcement agencies that they do better?

Watch TV coverage of the case here.

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/atlanta-woman-arrested-by-1205009.html

Thanks to Yahoo and others

Troy Davis, Amanda Knox, Mark McPhail, and Meredith Kercher

Troy Davis, Amanda Knox, Mark McPhail, and Meredith Kercher

Sunday saw the burial of Troy Davis, the man who millions believed was falsely convicted of murder and who was then, in turn, killed by the State of Georgia despite a massive groundswell of support, including from some of the finest political and legal minds in America and around the world.

Today sees the freeing of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito after their appeal against conviction for killing British student Meredith Kercher was upheld, primarily because the DNA evidence that had originally played such a large part in their conviction was effectively discredited.

The similarities and contrasts in the cases are striking.

In America and Italy, the credibility of the prosecuting police and legal establishment has been comprehensively called into question, and in both cases the fervour with which the appeals process was opposed speaks to the desire of law enforcement agencies to avoid having convictions overturned and, as a result, their competence inevitably called into question.

In one case, though, the burden of evidence seemed to be impossibly flawed, and certainly inadequate to sustain the ultimate penalty for fear of a mistake being made, and yet the state went ahead and carried out the execution anyway.

In the other, an element of doubt must still remain in many people’s minds as to whether Knox and Sollecito are, in fact, innocent, because their testimony and behaviour after the murder seemed confused and contradictory, and yet the court set them free, because the high standard needed to sustain a very long period of imprisonment was not met.

In one case, the family of off-duty policeman Mark MacPhail believe justice was served, but many hundreds of thousands of people who have informed themselves on the case believe the true killer is still walking free.

In the other, Meredith Kercher’s family are now left bitterly resentful of the fact that the defendants seem to have garnered all the publicity, and now, of course, wonder who else, if anyone, was involved in the violent death of their beloved daughter. (Local small-time drug dealer and petty thief Rudy Guede has also been convicted on the same charges as Knox and Sollecito but was tried separately and is serving a 16-year sentence after exhausting his appeals.)

In both cases, the passion with which the families of the accused fought for their children was brave, heartfelt, and touching. As was the desire for justice of the families of the dead.

It seems to me that, whatever private suspicions people might have about the guilt or innocence of Knox and her co-accused, one thing is clear. If the burden of evidence was inadequate, freeing them was the right decision. They are, unquestionably, innocent, because our system of laws demand that a person is either entirely innocent or entirely guilty. If we ever lose this unbreachable, unquenchable standard within our legal system then it seems to me we revert to the dark ages.

Reflecting on the Knox trial, it is also easy to imagine how a 20 year old American girl, living the high life in Italy, could become confused, scared and browbeaten when captured in the maw of a malevolent legal system, subjected to intense enquiry in an alien environment.

Certainly that is the popular feeling about the case in America.

Perhaps this explains how in her first interrogation, Knox said she was in the house at the time of the murder and she falsely identified the owner of a bar where she worked as a waitress as the killer. He was arrested but quickly exonerated.

In court last week, Knox apologised to him. Knox now says that she was with Sollecito at his house all night and that her initial comments were misunderstood and only given after heavy questioning. She admitted she was wrong, the court had to decide whether she was actually misunderstood or lying, and why she would lie, if guiltless. Perhaps Knox was indeed guilty and casting around in her confusion for a way out? Or perhaps she merely acted foolishly, in terror at the situation she found herself in, or as she says, perhaps she was simply misunderstood?

In short, we will never know for certain, and we offer up a silent prayer of thanks that it was not our child caught in such a situation. The judges and jurors in the appeal court agreed that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and as such, Knox must walk free, and without a stain on her character.

One can only imagine how the family of Troy Davis must feel when, as is surely inevitable, they review the news coverage of this case. In one jurisdiction, an appeals process established without question that the evidence originally submitted was highly questionable. In the other, the appeals process positively discriminated against hearing such evidence, preferring to focus on procedural niceties that seemed designed to keep the guilty man headed for the death chamber, no matter what. Remember: there was no DNA evidence linking Davis to the crime, and the murder weapon was never found. And yet the appeals process remained stony-faced.

And it must be said: in one case, the defendants were a pair of attractive middle-class lovers, young, beautiful  – and white. In the other, he was a black man in a southern state of the USA.

Last but by no means least, let us reflect at length that Knox and her co-accused, in a different jurisdiction, could have been executed before they were exonerated. Yet within days, she will be walking the streets of her home town, considering, no doubt, book and movie deals, seeking to get her life back on track.

As you read this, hundreds of other death sentence appeals grind their way through the American legal system. Men and women sit on death row, under unimaginable strain, and sometimes for decades. Can anyone say with certainty that an indefinable number of those slated for execution are not, in fact, entirely innocent, when we know for sure that many posthumous pardons have had to be issued for innocent people who have been executed, in America and elsewhere?

One fact in these sad stories is indisputable. Troy Anthony Davis was buried in the cold ground of Savannah, Georgia on Sunday. I am Troy Davis.

The Supreme Court is considering the case. No one knows what will happen, although I believe execution is still by far the most likely result.

Watch live feed of the protest outside the prison here, especially if you are interested in stopping the death penalty generally, as there are many interesting people being interviewed as we await news:

http://www.democracynow.org/

Well done, Democracy now.

A million people have signed petitions, from around the USA and around the world. One million people have weighed the evidence, and found it fatally flawed. ONE MILLION.

Troy Davis dies at 7pm unless we can save him

Troy Davis dies at 7pm unless we can save him

People like the Pope, Archbishop Tutu and President Jimmy Carter have condemned the conviction as unsafe. A host of conservative figures are among those who have advocated on Davis’ behalf, including former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr and former Texas Governor Mark White (both death penalty supporters), ex-Justice Department official Larry Thompson and one-time FBI Director William Sessions.

And yet the fools on the Georgia Parole and Pardons Board know better. Is it that they simply believe that some black man has to die for the death of a white officer, so it may as well be Davis? They clearly don’t care that killing him lets the true murderer walk free.

Despite the late hour, there is still time to appeal to Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm by signing the Amnesty petition to him here, even if you have previously signed the larger petition given to the paroles board: http://tinyurl.com/4y67t93

Chisholm is pretending he doesn’t have the power to intervene. In my opinion he is blatantly just trying to defuse the heat in the situation and ducking his responsibility. Let us hope that the uproar if Troy is killed will cost him his job.

Yahoo reported the news as follows: “The board has considered the totality of the information presented in this case and thoroughly deliberated on it, after which the decision was to deny clemency,” the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles said in its statement on Tuesday.

The five person parole board that will allow Troy to be killed

The five person parole board that will allow Troy to be killed

The panel, which convened on Monday in the state capital, Atlanta, and deliberated overnight, added that board members “have not taken their responsibility lightly, and certainly understand the emotions attached to a death penalty case”, but nevertheless had rejected his appeal for clemency.

(However, the sole woman on the Board used to be with a police dept, one member was the ex-counsel of the Prosecuting Attorneys Assoc. of Georgia and one was a former Commissioner of Corrections in Georgia. Not likely to have the backbone to grant clemency for an alleged cop killer no matter how obvious it is that they got the wrong guy for the crime.)

Davis was convicted of shooting to death an off-duty police officer who intervened in a brawl in a car park in Savannah, Georgia in 1989, but there was no physical evidence and seven out of nine witnesses later recanted their testimony, some (including a boy who was 16 at the time of the shooting) claiming police coercian and threats of being jailed themselves. Seems like the good old boys are alive and well in the southern states of the US.

Davis escaped three previous dates with death during more than two decades of appeals. All avenues now appear exhausted as Georgia’s governor does not have the power to stay executions and experts said any last-minute filings to the state courts or the US Supreme Court would likely prove to be unsuccessful.

Barring an unexpected turn of events, Davis will be put to death by lethal injection at 2300 GMT on Wednesday (0900 AEST Thursday) at a prison in Jackson, south of Atlanta, with the victim’s widow and children looking on.

Davis repeatedly has maintained his innocence and his supporters pointed to a corrupted justice system in the deep South, saying a black man was wrongly and hastily convicted of killing a white police officer.

“I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice,” Davis lawyer Brian Kammer said as rights groups and anti-death penalty activists rushed to condemn the decision.

Amnesty International said the prosecution’s case against Davis long ago had been shown to be flawed.

“Seven out of nine original state witnesses recanted or changed their original testimonies, some alleging police coercion,” said Amnesty’s US director, Larry Cox. “Ten people have pointed to one of the remaining witnesses as the actual killer. There is no murder weapon that links Davis to the crime. Any notion of physical evidence that demonstrates Davis’ guilt has been debunked.”

Amnesty called a protest rally at the Georgia state capitol exactly 24 hours before Davis is due to become the 34th person to be executed in the United States this year.

At a protest outside Monday’s parole board hearing, an estimated 150 to 200 demonstrators carried signs saying “Justice, Free Troy Davis” and “We are Troy Davis”. Another placard read “Too much Doubt. Save Troy Davis.”

Supporters have appealed for Davis to be allowed to take a polygraph test, and a Georgia State Senator has urged prison staff to strike to prevent the execution going ahead. But as things stand, Troy will be dead a little after 7pm Thursday.

Personally, I trust Satan has a special place in Hell reserved for those who have allowed this to happen. Their immortal souls are doomed. One can only hope they reflect on this as they head to Church next Sunday. Hypocrites and cowards the lot of them.

Having signed the latest petition, all we can really do is pray. For a peaceful calm for Troy as he walks to an unjust death, and for the tears of his family as they watch him die.

Troy Davis is going to die if we do nothing.

Troy Davis is going to die if we do nothing.

Troy Davis is almost certainly innocent on the crime for which he is about to be executed. At the very least, his sentence should be commuted while new evidence is properly examined, because the laws of his state, Georgia, insist that no execution can proceed when there is doubt about the conviction. Read this fine article, and weep:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/09/explaining-the-death-penalty-to-my-children/245020/

If you haven’t done so already, please sign the Amnesty International petition here:

http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b=6645049&aid=12970

Imagine walking into the execution chamber, to have your life snuffed out for something you – and tens of thousands of other people – know you didn’t do. Imagine how that feels. Imagine how it feels for your family, watching you walk to your certain death.

And then sign the petition. And ask your friends to do the same. At least then, if they do murder Troy Davis, you can say as you look around at your own family eating dinner or watching TV, or you lie down to sleep at night, “Well, at least I tried”.

Troy Davis faces the death penalty

Troy Davis in the Chatham County Superior Court during his trail in the shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. (AP Photo/Savannah Morning News)

At the very least, the doubts about his conviction should make imposing the death penalty – planned for just a few short days from now – unthinkable. (By its own rules, Georgia is obliged to set aside the death penalty where reasonable doubt exists.)

Please take action. As a first step, read Emily Hauser’s blog. (The link is below.) Then either sign the Amnesty International petition, or contact the Georgia authorities, or both. His life is, quite literally, in your hands.

Troy Davis given execution date. « Emily L. Hauser – In My Head.

Listen to details of the case here: