NC NAACP Statement: NC Senate Votes to Restart Racially Biased Death Penalty

 

 

NC NAACP Letterhead

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 4, 2013

 

For More Information:           Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137

                                               Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700

For Media Assistance:            Rob Stephens, Field Secretary, 336-577-9335

 

Download PDF of Statement

 

North Carolina NAACP Statement on

Repeal of the Racial Justice Act

 

NC Senate Votes to Restart Racially Biased Death Penalty

 

            Forty-five years ago today, the world lost one of its greatest prophetic leaders of the modern age. On April 4, 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, in the middle of his most ambitious vision to date: the Poor People’s Campaign. Two years ago, on the 43rd anniversary of Dr. King’s brutal murder, the NC General Assembly chose to "honor" his legacy by introducing a bill that gutted the Racial Justice Act of its strongest provisions that attempted to rid racial bias from the application of capital punishment in NC. 

 

            This General Assembly seems to have a disposition to introducing its most radical and blatantly racist legislation around Dr. King’s last day on earth. The NC Senate’s decision to pass an extreme piece of legislation yesterday is disturbing. They want to simultaneously cut current protections against discrimination under RJA while speeding up and making it easier to kill people. 

 

The language used by the proponents of the legislation is equally disturbing and should offend all people of conscience. For Sen. Thom Goolsby to question the character of one of North Carolina’s heroes Darryl Hunt reveals a mean spirit muddying his mindset. Darryl Hunt spent 19 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit because of a criminal justice system deeply poisoned with the same racial bias targeted by the RJA. If it were not for the vote of one juror, Darryl Hunt would have been put to death, and not be able to stand and fight for justice today.

 

            And it is hard to fathom how an elected official, Senator Wesley Meredith, is so seemingly bound to a divisive ideology that he can repeatedly refer to Judge Gregory Weeks as the "minority judge."

 

            This rhetoric would not be so concerning unless it directly influenced legislation tied to a regressive ideology trying to return North Carolina to the days when African Americans were treated as less than human, and treated attacks on their bodies and humanity as natural and acceptable in our society.

 

Five Reasons Legislators Should Reject New Efforts to Repeal the Racial Justice Act

 

1) The Racial Justice Act was passed with the support of proponents and opponents of the death penalty. All agreed that racial bias has no place in the application of the ultimate punishment of death.

 

2) Support for the Racial Justice Act is not an endorsement of violence or a sign that anyone is "soft on crime." Criminal justice enforcement is only strengthened when the system confronts racial bias directly and attempts to rid it from its practices.

 

3) Two Superior Court judges in North Carolina examined the law and evidence. The first found the RJA constitutional.  And the second, the Cumberland County Superior Court, examined the comprehensive evidence presented to it by both sides for several months and found that race played a significant role in the death sentence of the first RJA petitioner, Marcus Robinson, and changed his death sentence to life in prison without parole. The Court found what virtually every researcher who has studied the death penalty process has shown: racism infects much of this system and its ultimate punishment–the death penalty.

 

4) We live in a state where five men have been exonerated from death row since 1999, who would have been murdered by the state if the system had only worked faster. ALL were charged with the murders of white victims, which is the strongest indicator of whether a defendant will be sentenced to death.

 

5) All the evidence shows that the death penalty system is flawed with racial bias. It is bizarre and unthinkable that legislators are striving to maintain the status quo of racism in the application of the death penalty and steal a tool from the courts to address this abomination.

 

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harlem Globetrotters Wilson NC Native Ant Atkinson Scores 93 Points Setting A Team Record

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Ant Atkinson native Wilson NC and CJ Dancy III at the Harlem Globetrotters Game at East Carolina University Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum Greenville NC Thursday March 24, 2011. Click on picture to view more pictures.

(PHOENIX, April 2, 2013)Harlem Globetrotters star guard Ant Atkinson etched his name into the annals of Globetrotter lore on Friday, March 29, 2013, with an electrifying 93-point performance in a 193-161 Globetrotters win over the Global Select at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff in Cardiff, Wales – establishing a team record for most points ever scored by a Globetrotter in a game.

The historic effort included Ant nailing 22-of-30 attempts on 4-point shots, the ground-breaking innovation the Globetrotters introduced in 2010.  The shot is 35 feet from the basket, nearly 12 feet beyond the NBA’s three-point arc.  The NBA single-game record for made three-pointers is 12 (twice), while the mark for most three-pointers made by a single player in an NCAA Division I men’s basketball game is 15. (More)

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Harlem Globetrotters March 24, 2011

Harlem Globetrotters March 24, 2011

Harlem Globetrotters March 28, 2013

This New Poll Shows Democrats Could Actually Have A Shot At Winning The House In 2014

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that House Democrats have an early lead over Republicans on a generic 2014 ballot.

When asked which party they would support if an election for the U.S. House of Representatives were held today, 43 percent of those polled said they would support the Democrat to 35 percent supporting the Republican. (More)