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An Innocent Black Man Was Lynched In Alabama

Reexamining America's Capital Punishment - Racist and Unjust!

The execution, or should I say public lynching of Nathaniel Woods, shouldn’t be a shock anyone when it comes to any justice for Black people and Black men in particular in America. 

Woods was found guilty of capital murder in the 2004 shooting deaths of three police officers. Woods was not directly part of the killings. Even though the killings were carried out by his co-defendant Kerry Spenser, prosecutors were able to get a murder conviction against Woods. 

According to reports, Mr. Woods did not shoot any of the police officers and Mr. Woods surrendered to the police saying, “I give up” when an officer came at him with pepper spray before the shooting began.  

The issues around Mr. Woods’s case is no different than many circumstances surrounding a murder trial of a Black man as a defendant in America. There were complaints of incompetent counsel, police corruption, witness and evidence tampering. Even with these complaints and a temporary stay order from Supreme Court Justice Thomas, the Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey did not stop the execution. 

Let’s not forget this is the same Governor that in 2019 had to publicly apologize for wearing blackface in college. The Alabama NAACP issued a statement calling for Ivey’s resignation, saying her apology “does not erase the fact that she participated in these activities that mocked and intimidated African Americans.”

Black people in America always have to question what’s in the heart of those in power, who have the opportunity to correct the wrong but are to damn afraid of true justice in America? An innocent Black man was lynched today by the government of Alabama and nobody in power cared!

As Lynchings were racial terrorism against Black People, government executions of an innocent man is also a form of terrorism. To put fear in Black residents of Alabama and cause a kind of “psychological distress.” Punishment and social, economic, racial placement have always been the modus operandi our criminal justice system. 

Mr. Woods and every black man in America will always be subject to Justice Robert Taney’s 1857, the Dred Scott case ruling; that black people “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can, therefore, claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.

According to the Criminal Justice Project of the NAACP, there are 2,656 people on death row in the United States as of July 1, 2019. Since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, 1,512 people have been executed (as of December 12, 2019).

Even though Black people make up only 12 percent of America’s population, Blacks people are 41 percent of the inmates on death row. It has already been established that racial bias plays a role in our justice system. With all current information and data, we have only made baby steps in solving this dilemma.  

After the unjust execution (lynching) of Mr. Woods, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and other lawmakers and civil rights advocates implored Congress to abolish the death penalty nationwide.

Rep. Pressley proposed People’s Justice Guarantee legislation and a bill (H.R. 4052) she introduced in July 2019 that would “prohibit the imposition of the death penalty for any violation of federal law and other purposes.”

America must come to terms that its capital punishment system is racist and flawed. It is far from a perfect system—organizations like the Innocence who have helped to freed 365 people, let us know there are many many more innocent people sitting on death row. 

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About Damon K. Jones (214 Articles)
Damon K. Jones is an Activist, Author, and Publisher of Black Westchester Magazine, a Black-owned and operated newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. Mr. Jones is a Holistic Health Practitioner, First Aid in Mental Health Practioner, Diet, and Nutrition Advisor, and Vegan, Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Mr. Jones is a 31 year Law Enforcement Practioner, New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Mr. Jones has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am), WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM), and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts, including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show.
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