Friday, September 23, 2011

Candle Sticks and Billy-Clubs: The Execution of Troy Davis


September 20, 2011.


The Board's decision was announced Tuesday morning that clemency was denied and the execution will be carried out as planned. There was a wave of betrayal felt onto those who were fortified with confidence and optimism towards a positive outcome for Troy. Obviously, such virtuous traits were unrecognizable within the legal system as towering levels of ambiguity continues to loom over this case. 



With one day before the execution, our groups, yet again, reassembled to stage rallies to project our collective betrayal of our legal system. Given the statistics of this barbaric form of punishment, there was a reoccurring theme of unity knowing the result of this day will be the last to stand in total opposition. 

At that point in time, we felt that if Troy falls, we all fall with him.



Rev. Marvin Morgan, 63, showed up, alone, outside the board offices in downtown Atlanta and chained himself to the flagpole as a visual for the world to witness.  "If the state of Georgia can intentionally kill a person in a case surrounded with this much doubt, then we're all subject to the same fate," he said. 





Noted, this is not the 1st protest Rev. Morgan has demonstrated. On Sept. 22, 2008, Morgan and Davis' friend, Steve Woodall, hand-delivered to the office of then Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue a letter requesting that Davis' execution be prevented. Morgan wrote, "I, Marvin L. Morgan, do hereby request that you (the State of Georgia) take my life instead of that of Troy Davis, and allow Troy to be set free. I am available immediately to be taken into custody so that this request may be carried forward."
Morgan said they were told Perdue was unavailable to meet with them. "We waited until 5 o'clock and he still wasn't there. We refused to leave and were arrested for trespassing," Morgan said. 



Tuesday evening, we took the streets of Downtown Atlanta occupying multiple points throughout the city. 



The State Capital was the backdrop for many public speakers to address the crowd with vigilant prayers and grim reminders of both the MacPhail & Davis’ families have been affected by this case. Our group continued to reclaim Peachtree St. without question and without aid, for the streets will always belong to us. 

 

September 21, 2011.

Wednesday has been marked with death on the agenda; supporters began to flood the sleepy town of Jackson, GA (about an hour’s drive south of Atlanta) the location of the Georgia Diagnostic Prison.

 
Protests were staged in multiple locations; the lawn of inner perimeter of the prison was filled to capacity as the remainder of Davis supporters remained on the outer gates. There was a local church nearby as well that was the base of operations & parking for the buses and vans that arrived from all over the country.




The separation between the two perimeters was divided with a never-ending stream of Georgia State Patrolmen, Riot Guards, media crews by the dozen, and the always present helicopter hovering overhead.








There was an additional and surprisingly reclusive gathering of Pro-death penalty supporters on the premises that was in stark contrast to ours. 

 

The Georgia State Patrolmen persistently monitored the boundaries placed for Troy Davis Anti-Death Supporters. Our weapon of choice: the crowd continued to chant and drum in vocal protest against the durability of their body armor and face-shields. Groups of Patrolmen, usually with ratios 4-to-1, would tactfully restrain supporters who either stand too close to the artificial boundary or decide to cross it.







The crowds began to multiply on both sides of the highway leading up to 7’o clock. From that moment on, tension was also increasing, group prayer were plentiful as were the increasing level of dramatics unfolding before us. 


Supporters were constantly receiving Tweets, FaceBook messages, and media updates from the outside world.



A spark of jubilation was set amongst the crowd; supporters cried and cheered receiving word that Troy’s execution has been temporarily halted by the Supreme Court.
This was the game-changer we were looking for; personally, there was constant skepticism that did not provide solace for me. Of which, personal distrust at the system at large will become reaffirmed later that evening.

Between 7:30 and 10:30 PM, Davis supporters comprised of toddlers, teenagers, young parents and mature adults began to leave the scene by the bus-load. During that time, our massive crowd began to grow uncomfortably slimmer in number as the dark of night continued to black-out the paved highway. 



Our crowd began to brighten the night with candles set aflame; the Georgia State Patrolmen deployed a series of massive flood lights indicative of overtime during Friday night football.


Within the time period between 11:00 and 11:08, we were made aware via cell phone that Troy has been strapped in, allowing the chemicals to enter his body pronouncing him dead shortly after.



The crowd, struck with grief and discontent, formed the last prayer circle of dedication that was heard amongst tears and heartbreak.

The dramatics, yet again proved to become much more apparent after the 11 o’clock hour, as I made a full panoramic to see colossal border of Government opposition, standing without flaw and with “Hefty” bags filled to the brim of plastic riot-cuffs. 



A visual I will never forget; the reflective shine from the armed soldiers standing in unity a mere 40-yards in front of me with hostile intent. This was crude entertainment; this ultimate display of "Us vs. Them", "The State vs. The People". It was the fourth quarter between rivals with an eager, blood-crazed audience.

We refused. We refused to engage in barbaric confrontation, fighting like fiends would compromise our humanistic need to neutralize violence and suffering. The costs of preparing and arming these Georgia State Patrolmen would be an embarrassing amount. 

At this stage, it was a gesture ill-received and all for not. Financing an execution ranges from 2 – 3 million dollars each time. The Davis execution was going to be the freakin' Super Bowl of executions funded by a blank check at the taxpayers’ expense, precisely. 

In an economic climate were budgets are slashed and austerity efforts are common, the citizens have displayed their disgust with capital punishment, both in philosophy and in consideration of rampant reasonable doubt.

After midnight, all parties within the inner perimeter exited the Georgia Diagnostic Center, and the State Patrolmen began to carry out their last phase in this operation:  clearing out the citizens of the outer perimeter B.A.M. (By Any Means).




Like clockwork, the helicopter repositioned itself directly above our contingency and beamed the spotlight directly in our line of vision. At this point, we were comparable to escape convicts breaking out of the penitentiary. A percentage of Patrolmen crossed the highway and converged onto our side of the street. Due to the helicopter rotors spinning overhead, Patrolmen had to yell with an assertive tone:

“You have to leave now! You can either go back to the church or leave and go home! You can’t stay here!”

I so desperately wanted to grab my camera-phone to record these events, but I was miraculously apprehensive by not reaching in my pocket exciting a small army of well-armed Patrolmen (there were others nearby who were able to record this, if your out there, holler @ me please).   

To our surprise, we noticed a gentleman who was well-dressed in church wear, and approached the supporters alongside of the Patrolmen. Wow, what crazy timing, he made a subsequent announcement amongst ‘copter hover:


“You guys, please leave this area, if you stay here, they will arrest you. We just want to leave peacefully, we are going to meet with the Davis family at the church. Please go to the church.”









Again, a great number of us were stunned to see such a sudden/collective charge onto our side of the highway. Some of our comrades refused to leave as there was no harm in holding our designated ground, one of our femme fatales sat firmly on the ground with legs crossed. She was whisked away by four line-backer sized armed men as they marched into the darkness due to most likely “creating a disturbance”.


We reluctantly retreated; I made sure to stand firm for minutes at a time, just long enough so that I can look into the eyes of these government funded employees. To see exactly what type of character will dedicate themselves to uphold such counterproductive means; this lot of treachery creating unrest amongst its citizens. 

 



I looked at them, not even 2-meters in front me, every one of them attached with body armor and loaded weapons, stone in resolve, shifty in the eyes. Many with billy-clubs in one hand, plastic riot cuffs in another, all fueled with Red-Bull and artificial alpha male entitlement.  











I leave Jackson, Georgia with a question that has and will resonate with those of us who are under-classed dwelling within obvious racial biases:


The ultimate conclusion; executing Troy Davis was probably going to happen regardless of public outcry. 

Dramatics that have been staged for a great deal of time, dramatics that seem to be another reoccurring theme from governmental systems.  Akin to cinematic genius, great epidemics based on sociological events tend to have oddly placed crescendos of media pleasing theatrics.

What an effort! To funnel hundreds, maybe close to a thousand people in hick-town middle Georgia to stage the ultimate showdown between good and evil.  Does anyone watch basketball? Ok, let’s throw in a 7’o clock “buzzer-beater” and the crowd goes wild!
Putting “the game” into overtime, we’ll exhaust their star players and call in the cavalry. Only this time, the pain of losing in this event is severe and is afflicted on all parties. 

Dramatics, which affect the desperate, the undesirable are performances converging into multiple forms of entertainment.   
Check out the events that took place during Dallas’ & Atlanta’s response for providing housing assistance during heavy unemployment:

Dramatics, which affect the poor, the hopelessly fascist during America’s most horrific terroristic attack, now dripping with speculation and conspiracy. A grand design that ultimately created a jump-start in American patriotism and enrollment towards an elaborate game of corporate “Stragego”.

Two lives have been removed from this planet. A tragic timeline that has created lines that divide but would ultimately provide the way to acknowledge the social weight of violence as a whole. Death cannot be corrected, and both young men have transcended in form, they have transcended into legacy.

R.I.P. Officer Mark Allen MacPhail Sr.
R.I.P. Troy Anthony Davis

3 comments:

  1. Great article Ken. I wasn't even aware that there was an alternate protest protesting our cause. Great pictures too.

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  2. Poignant words! And since I was standing shoulder to shoulder with you on the front lines, I can only thank you emphatically brother for getting the truth out there! The world needs to know that the citizens of the United States are too living in a policed state where democracy is not respected but it is challenged with excessive and even brutal force! We do not have to look to Libya and Egypt for oppression of people...we can look in the mirror...we are ALL Troy Davis! And we can't forget this atrocity as it has stained the very fabric of who we are!!

    No Justice! No Peace!!

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  3. And the commendations continue, even today, Ken. Your comprehensive coverage of this tragedy is a stellar contribution to the ongoing struggle for justice that is critical, if the world is to know about our state's propensity to commit murder. Killing one person, in an effort to avenge for the killing of another places all of us in a perpetual state of violence for which there appears to be no end. Please keep up your good work.

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