Revolution Online, September 26, 2011

How Testimony Against Troy Davis Was Coerced

Here are two accounts from signed affidavits of prosecution witnesses in the Troy Davis trial:

Darrell Collins, a 16-year-old friend of Troy Davis, was with him at the Burger King where the shooting of cop Mark MacPhail took place. In his affidavit (Darrell "D.D." Collins Affidavit, 11 July 2002), Collins says that 15-20 police came to his house, "a lot of them with their guns drawn," and took him in for questioning:

"When I got to the barracks, the police put me in a small room and some detectives came in and started yelling at me, telling me that I knew that Troy Davis… killed that officer by the Burger King. I told them that … I didn't see Troy do nothing. They got real mad when I said this and started getting in my face. They were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would pay like Troy was gonna pay if I didn't tell them what they wanted to hear. They told me that I would go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed… I didn't want to go to jail because I didn't do nothing wrong. I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail. They kept saying that … [Troy] had messed with that man up at Burger King and killed that officer. I told them that it was Red and not Troy who was messing with that man, but they didn't want to hear that…

"After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said."

Larry Young said he was pistol-whipped by a man who then shot MacPhail (Larry Young Affidavit, 11 October 2002):

"After I was assaulted that night, I went into the bathroom at the bus station and tried to wash the blood off my face. I had a big gash on my face and there was blood everywhere. ...When I left the bathroom, some police officers grabbed me and threw me down on the hood of the police car and handcuffed me. They treated me like a criminal, like I was the one who killed the officer. Even though I was homeless at that time and drinking and drugging, I didn't have nothing to do with killing the officer ... but they just locked me in the back of the police car for the next hour or so. ... They then took me to the police station and interrogated me for three hours. I kept asking them to treat my head, but they wouldn't.

"They kept asking me what had happened at the bus station, and I kept telling them that I didn't know. Everything happened so fast down there. I couldn't honestly remember what anyone looked like or what different people were wearing. Plus, I had been drinking that day, so I just couldn't tell who did what. The cops didn't want to hear that and kept pressing me to give them answers. They made it clear that we weren't leaving until I told them what they wanted to hear. They suggested answers and I would give them what they wanted. They put typed papers in my face and told me to sign them. I did sign them without reading them.

"I never have been able to make sense of what happened that night. It's as much a blur now as it was then."

People should read the Amnesty International report (cited above) and review all of the affidavits of the recanting witnesses for yourself.

The prosecution's case was based ONLY on the testimony of witnesses, many who said they were threatened and coerced into saying what the police wanted them to say. Seven of the nine witnesses have recanted, saying their testimony fingering Troy Davis was a lie.

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