The Death Warrant

September 6, 2012

It was drizzly outside when I looked down at my Blackberry, making my usual obsessive check for new emails.  I’d left the office and saw in my inbox, “Troy Davis Warrant” in the subject line.  One of Troy’s lawyers had sent me the order signed by a Chatham County judge.  I swallowed hard.

We will never forget Troy Davis, we will not let the world forget him and we won’t let those in power off the hook.
The attached PDF was the trigger we had been waiting for with dread to kick off what would become our final appeal to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemency.  Within an hour, we released a press statement and communicated with the many supporters who had joined the snowballing movement for Troy Davis over the past four years.  We asked people to organize events around the world, observing a “Global Day of Solidarity” for Troy.  We rolled out a twitter campaign proclaiming that there was #TooMuchDoubt to execute, and we started organizing a major march through downtown Atlanta.

Every week in the United States, execution warrants are signed.  Each one, a short and stiff legal document, creates a wave of terror.  An execution warrant instructs public servants to kill a human being.  It informs the prisoner of the time and date on which he or she will be killed.  It lets the prisoner’s family know when they must prepare for the calculated death of someone they love.  It promises the murder victims’ families the intangible sense of closure, but re-exposes them to the difficult spotlight of media attention on the worst moment in their lives and represents yet another step in the grueling process of the death penalty.

While we had made plans in anticipation of Troy’s fourth execution warrant, news of its arrival sent an adrenaline rush through all of us at Amnesty.  We reconnected with Troy’s resilient family and set those plans in motion, but we were never satisfied, always feeling that more could be done.  And that’s how we feel about the death penalty.  More must be done to end this horrible and fundamental violation of human rights that creates more suffering and not more justice.

Troy Davis did not need to die, especially under the tremendous cloud of doubt that plagued his case.  In fact, no one needs to die, guilty or innocent.  We will never forget Troy Davis, we will not let the world forget him and we won’t let those in power off the hook.  We are his legacy.  We are the vibrant and organized movement that is ending the death penalty.  I asked Kim Davis, one of Troy’s sisters, how we ought to mark the one-year anniversary of Troy’s execution.  She replied, “Well, I’m not gonna stand around at some vigil.”  She made it clear that the Davis family is still a family of fighters.  They want Troy’s name cleared and they want to help us prevent other families from having to go through the nightmare they have been through.

Please stay tuned for actions and social media content you can share in the coming weeks because we are still Troy Davis!