[Editor's Note: This story has been changed from its original original posting.]
As the story of Georgia man Troy Davis reaches its peak as controversial national news, the hip-hop community is weighing in strongly.
Davis, 42, was convicted of murder in the 1989 shooting of Savannah. GA. police officer Mark MacPhail and is set to receive the death penalty at 7 p.m. EST tonight (September 21), in Georgia, despite the fact that there is no DNA evidence linking him to the death.
Atlanta rapper Killer Mike was on his way to a rally demonstration for the Death Row inmate in Jackson, GA. when XXL got a hold of him today.
“I’m the son of a police officer, so I know a little bit more about the case than most people would and I certainly can emphasize with any police officer’s family, who lost a father, a leader, a dad,” he said. “I can emphasize with that, but my concern with this case in particular is there was no physical evidence. I’ve been going to Savannah for over 15-years and I’ve heard rumors running rampant that he wasn’t even the guy; another guy was the shooter. Seven out of nine of the people have recanted their story, saying they were coerced by police and by the Savannah Police Department at that time to change their story and to change their story and incriminate Troy.
“Based on those facts, this is not enough evidence to kill someone,” Mike continued. “If there’s any doubt this could possibly be a mistake, if there’s any doubt that he may not be the guy, we shouldn’t do it. We should further investigate.”
Atlanta native DJ Holiday has strong feelings about the case as well, expressing that it reeks of racism.
“It’s terrible for him to be accused of something, if he didn’t even do anything,” Holiday told XXL. “I believe in this day and age, racism is still very, very strong. For them to do that at 7 today, it’s kind of a messed-up vibe [in Atlanta]. Atlanta is crazy right now. I really think there’s going to be a riot.”
Southwest of Atlanta is rap veteran Bun B in Houston, where coincidentally white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer will also be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. today for the 1998 murder of African American man James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, Texas.
Bun has been following both Byrd and Davis’s respective cases carefully, but has concern over the latter.
“If there’s a shadow of doubt, they’re supposed to at least hear the evidence,” Bun told <i>XXL</i> of Davis’ situation. “You’re dealing with Death Row. Right now, people are just trying to make an effort [via last-minute appeals] to let them know that people are concerned with the circumstances. I think the bottom line with this issue is they’re putting him to death for the killing of the police officer and there’s still doubt to whether he killed the police officer. In this man’s case, he’s only got a couple of hours left.”
Lupe Fiasco also weighed in on the story during his concert in Atlanta last night.
“Let that boy come home,” Lupe said about Troy Davis onstage at the Masquerade Music Park. “At the same time I want to say rest in peace to Officer MacPhail…we send condolenses and everything out to his family but at the same time too we want truth, we want justice; we don’t wanna send two victims to the grave.” [Watch here]
As of today, last-minute appeals and a request by Davis’ lawyers for a lie-detector test were denied by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole, according to The New York Times. The paper also reports that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was planning to visit Davis today and trying to ask President Obama for a reprieve. –Mark Lelinwalla