Friday, June 5, 2009

Action Alert: Missouri NAACP calls for a Board of Inquiry and seeks clemency to stop the execution of Reggie Clemons


NAACP National Board Member Harold Crumpton and NAACP Missouri State Conference President Mary Ratliff are requesting Governor Jay Nixon appoint a Board of Inquiry and grant clemency to Reggie Clemons who is on death row scheduled to be executed on June 17, 2009.

Clemons, 37, is an African-American man sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of two young women who drowned after plunging from the Chain of the Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. There was no physical evidence linking Reggie to the crime for which he received the death penalty: no fingerprints, no DNA, no hair or fiber samples. Reggie’s case is filled with many injustices, including police brutality, gross prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective defense counsel.

“Reggie Clemons was tortured by police into making a statement that was used against him at trial. But even after five hours of violent interrogation, he never confessed to murder,” stated NAACP National Board Member Harold Crumpton. “The two eyewitnesses failed to link Clemons to the murder. One of them initially confessed to the killing, and the other one got a sweetheart deal for his testimony. The other evidence was Clemons’ confession which was induced by hours of torture.” Crumpton said.

“Governor Nixon should convene a Board of Inquiry immediately and grant clemency for Reggie Clemons. More than 20% of black defendants who have been executed in the U.S. were convicted by all-white juries. Although St. Louis is more than 50 percent African American, there were only two black people on Reggie’s jury,” stated Mary Ratliff, NAACP Missouri State Conference President.

“It is wrong to put to death someone who clearly might be innocent. Our nation and our State are better than that. It is not only unjust for Reggie but for the families of the victims who deserve to have the real killers punished. Executing the innocent is a mistake that cannot be rectified,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

The Missouri State Conference of the NAACP is calling on supporters to fax (573-751-1588), send letters and emails to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and to sign a petition for clemency for Reggie Clemons at http://www.justiceforreggie.com.

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