The figures are staggering. More people are imprisoned in the United States than anywhere else in the world. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Incarceration_rates_worldwide.gif. There’s no escaping it. To make matters worse, the formidable prison population comprises over 45% black ethnic minority. One in nine black American are in prison. More blacks and Latinos are executed than white people.
|Estimated number of inmates held in custody in state or federal prison, or in local jails,by sex, race, and Hispanic origin, June 30, 2009.|
|Note: Detailed categories exclude persons who reported two or more races. All totals include persons under age 18.|
Tonight, one of those men, a black American, is due to be executed by lethal injection. The scheduled execution in Georgia is due to take place at 7pm (midnight GMT). Troy Davis 42, was refused a request to take a polygraph test in a bid to prove his innocence and will now face execution. His legal team also filed a last-minute appeal questioning ballistics evidence against him but that was turned down by the state’s pardons board. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty police officer who was working as a security guard in Savannah, Georgia.
Mr MacPhail was shot dead when he rushed to help a homeless man who was being pistol whipped in a Burger King car park in an argument over a beer. Witnesses placed Davis at the crime scene and identified him as the gunman. Shell casings were linked to an earlier shooting that he was convicted of. But the weapon was never found and there was no other physical evidence such as blood or DNA to tie Davis to the crime. His lawyers claim he was a victim of mistaken identity. Some witnesses who gave evidence against him at his original trial have since recanted, while others have claimed that another man confessed to the killing.
Davis has received support from high profile figures including former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and former FBI Director William Sessions. However his conviction has been repeatedly upheld by state and federal courts. Last year, his lawyers failed to convince the US Supreme Court of his innocence and a judge decided new evidence was “largely smoke and mirrors.”
|CURRENT U.S. DEATH ROW POPULATION BY RACE