High above her head, Paine College student Kara Shipp held a sign reading “Abolish the Death Penalty.”
“No justice, no peace if we don’t abolish the death penalty now,” Shipp and about 50 other students chanted Thursday night, the eve of the anniversary of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis’ execution.
Davis was convicted of murder in the 1989 shooting of Savannah (Ga.) Police Officer Mark MacPhail and sentenced to death in 1991. He maintained his innocence until until his execution by lethal injection Sept. 21, 2011.
Several well-known leaders, including former President Carter, called on the courts to give Davis a new hearing, which was granted in 2010 to hear evidence that some witnesses had recanted their testimony identifying Davis as the killer. The court upheld his conviction, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Davis clemency.
The Augusta branch of the NAACP and the Paine College chapter organized a silent march across campus, ending at the steps of the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel.
“This is a worldwide effort to keep the memory of Troy Davis alive,” said Augusta NAACP President Charles Smith Sr.
The NAACP urges the Georgia General Assembly to revisit the death penalty, Smith said.
“If there is a shadow of doubt, no one should be put to death,” he said.
Shipp, the president of the Paine College NAACP chapter, said Davis’ execution was an important history lesson that students need to study.
“We’re standing for justice,” Shipp said. “We’re here to make sure if other situations like this occur the justice system does what they’re supposed to do.”