(Kansas City, MO) – On Friday, Oct. 28, at 5:30 p.m. about 100 human rights activists will kick off Amnesty International’s Midwest conference with a rally to support clemency for Missouri death row prisoner Reggie Clemons, who has spent half his life behind bars, despite a flawed case that raises serious doubt about his guilt.
Amnesty International activists will be joined by supporters from the ACLU and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty; the rally, which is open to the public, will take place at JC Nichols Fountain, 47th and Main streets.
“Reggie Clemons is the Troy Davis of Missouri – a man sentenced for a crime he may not have committed,” said Debra Erenberg, Midwest regional director for Amnesty International USA. “And activists are determined that this time injustice will not stand. We are fighting for clemency for Reggie, just as we did for Troy Davis, and today our movement is swelling.”
Clemons, an African-American man now 40 years old, was sent to death row as an accomplice in the murder of two white women in St. Louis in 1991, on the testimony alone of two witnesses -- and without any physical evidence. One of the witnesses initially confessed to the crime and another received a lesser sentence for testifying. Clemons has always maintained his innocence. The case includes egregious reports of police brutality, prosecutor misconduct, an inadequate defense, racial bias and a stacked jury.
Amnesty International’s 2010 investigation into the Clemons case, “Death by Prosecutorial Misconduct and a ‘Stacked’ Jury,” concluded the serious flaws undermined any claim that justice was served and demanded that clemency be granted.
Since that report was released, Amnesty International has been mobilizing support to spare Clemons’ life, including an online petition: showmejustice.org. More than 58,000 people have signed the petition.
A hearing on clemency has been scheduled for next year. “The groundswell of protest sparked by the massive doubts about Troy Davis’s guilt shows that people are sickened by a criminal justice system that disregards the possibility of mistakes, errors and doubts,” said Laura Moye, director, Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign. “In the Reggie Clemons case, massive doubt persists and shows why so many people are so disturbed by the death penalty.”
Since 2007 New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Illinois have done away with the death penalty. The governors of those states all pointed to the risk of irrevocable error as a reason to support abolition. Since 1973, 138 prisoners have been released from death rows across the country on grounds of innocence. Each had been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
What: Human Rights Rally For Reggie Clemons
Where: JC Nichols Fountain, 47th and Main streets, Kansas City.
When: 5:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28
Who: Amnesty International, ACLU, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.