STAMFORD, Conn. — Civil rights leaders from across the country called for the abolition of the death penalty in a gathering at the Stamford Government Center on Monday afternoon.
“There are people sitting on Death Row that don’t deserve to die,” said Kim Davis, the sister of Troy Davis, who put to death two months ago. Davis remained steadfast that he did not kill a police officer and said the prosecution’s case contained several inconsistencies, his sister said.
“We need to repeal the death penalty before we have our own Troy Davis case,” said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP. A statement said that 138 men have been exonerated and released from Death Row nationwide since 1973.
The ultimate goal is for the Supreme Court to change federal law by repealing the death penalty, but first need more states to repeal it, said Ben Jealous, national president of the NAACP. He added that Connecticut is targeted because some states such as Georgia and Mississippi won’t repeal it. Currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia do not have the death penalty, DeathPenaltyInfo.org says.
“Connecticut needs to be a human rights leader, not a human rights lager,” Jealous said.
A bill to repeal the death penalty will be introduced at the start of the next legislative session in February. State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, said the bill proposed does not have everything proponents want but is a big step in the right direction.
After Monday’s news conference, the group went around Stamford, campaigning residents to encourage their state representatives and senators to support the repeal and to gain signatures for a petition to the General Assembly.