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The Execution of Troy Davis - A Photo Essay THE EXECUTION OF TROY DAVIS
September 19-21, 2011

On Wednesday, September 21, Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia for a crime he did not commit. I was there to photograph the events around this tragic injustice.


Like this journey to save Troy Davis, these photos are intense, emotional and the story is long. What I saw and felt and experienced this week in Georgia is beyond words. It is probably beyond photographs, but as a photographer, I have no other choice but to share what it is I am able to share. My conscience and my soul demands it. So bear with me.


I don't claim that these photos tell the story perfectly. Nor are all these photos the best that I can do. For various reasons, I was limited in what I could capture. The police and paramilitary forces did their best to limit movement and access (I was threatened with arrest at one point). My emotions overwhelmed me at times so that I could not, despite my strongest journalistic attempts, lift the camera to my eye and release the shutter. And as you will see toward the end, I was able to be in a place where I was not allowed (as a journalist, with a camera), so sensitivity to the family, the personal legal risks involved and the technical limitations of trying to conceal a camera all minimzed what I did capture. But I did what I could.


It will take you, the viewer, some time to go through all these photos and text below, but I hope you do. This story has to be told. And someone needs to see it.


NOTE: Below you will find 75 photos that I think represent the chronology of what transpired. I have included links to four other galleries which contain (in total) an additional 150 photos:


More clemency hearing vigil photos   |   Post-hearing press conference photos   |   Capitol protest photos the day before   |   More photos from the execution in Jackson


References and titles for key people pictured:

Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA             Laura Moye, Campaign Director for Amnesty International USA

Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President                                        Edward Dubose, Georgia NAACP President

Martina Correia and Kim Davis, sisters of Troy Davis                       De'Jaun Correia, nephew of Troy Davis

Dr. Raphael Warnock, Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church




Also from the project:        Photos from Troy's 2008 execution date     |     Photos from Troy's 2010 Hearing    |     >Other featured photo galleries




Monday

Troy Davis Execution

On Monday, September 19, the Board of Pardons and Paroles met in Atlanta to determine if they would commute Troy's death sentence. Outside the towers where the board met, an all day vigil was held.




Troy Davis Execution

A prayer circle began at 7:30 am outside the hearing.




Troy Davis Execution

At 8:00 am, before entering the hearing, Troy's Sister, Kim Davis, speaks at the morning prayer circle.




Troy Davis Execution

Monday: Georgia NAACP President Edward Dubose (center) and others remain optimistic as a decision from the Board is anxiously awaited.




Troy Davis Execution

Edward Dubose carries a box of the additional 150,000 petitions collected over the weekend to the board hearing.




Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution

The vigil and presence continues.




Troy Davis Execution

Just before noon, an attorney for Troy Davis (left) reports to the media after the morning session of the Board hearing, as does Dr. Raphael Warnock, Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church (right).




Troy Davis Execution

At noon, Laura Moye (right), campaign director for Amnesty International, and Amnesty organizer Jen Marlowe (left) go over possible scenario outcomes in the cafeteria of the Board hearing building.




Troy Davis Execution

By the end of the day with no decision from the Board, those gathered close the vigil with a prayer and song.




Tuesday Morning
Troy Davis Execution

Early Tuesday morning, the Board announces that clemency has been rejected. Edward Dubose (right) and Laura Moye (left) wait in the back halls of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta before a press conference to deplore the decision and to call on the D.A. to take action to stop the execution.




Troy Davis Execution

Dr. Raphael Warnock addresses the press at 11:00 am in his own Ebenezer Baptist Church.




Troy Davis Execution

From left to right: Laura Moye and Edward Dubose address the press at 11:00 am.




Tuesday Evening
Troy Davis Execution

Hand painted banners sent from people from around the world (reading "The Blood is on our Hands") are laid out at the Capitol Building in Atlanta for the evening protest.




Troy Davis Execution

A feeder march approaches the Capitol to join in the protest.




Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution

Over 700 protesters gathered at the Capitol that night.




Troy Davis Execution

Georgia NAACP President Edward Dubose speaks outside the Capitol.




Troy Davis Execution

Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, speaks outside the Capitol.




Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution

Moments of prayer and protest outside the Capitol.




Wednesday: Day of Execution
Troy Davis Execution

With all avenues of hope exhausted, people prepare for the worst. Just before the final press conference, Larry Cox gathers his thoughts in a church across from the prison where Troy waits.




Troy Davis Execution

At 3:30 pm, (from left to right) Rev. Al Sharpton, Big Boi (from Outkast) and Larry Cox address the media and supporters at the final press conference before the scheduled 7:00 pm execution.




Troy Davis Execution

During the press conference, the family of Troy Davis address the media, with Martina Correia, sister of Troy Davis, (sitting) speaking on their behalf. After her statement, she shares about her declining health that has left her confined to a wheel chair, but, with her strong will, announces she will stand up for her brother - rising from her seat, balanced by her son's hand (at right).




Troy Davis Execution

The entrance to the prison grounds where death row and the state execution facilities are located. A helicoper, hovering in the sky, circles the area continuously all afternoon and through the night.




Troy Davis Execution

Numerous law enforcement agencies are present to intimidate and control the crowds.




Troy Davis Execution

At 4:30 pm, students and activist from around the state arrive by at least five buses to the protest area across from the prison.




Troy Davis Execution

At 4:45 pm, SWAT team members move in to dispurse a gathering crowd once the prison's limit of 60 protesters is reached (top two photos). Protesters challenge and complain (bottom left photo), and at 4:55 pm, SWAT team members arrest a man who challenged the order to move from the public area (bottom right photo).




Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution

At 5:15 pm, protesters get active and loud in the designated protest pen on the prison grounds, awaiting the 7:00 pm execution time.




Troy Davis Execution

At 5:30 pm, two supporters of the execution gather in the opposite protest pen, separated from those against the execution. Their sign reads "Protesting this Protest! Lying then or lying now? Recanted testimony PHOOEY." A half-dozen more supporters came out in the course of the night.




Troy Davis Execution

At 6:15 pm, members of Troy's legal team enter the prison grounds to join the vigil in the protest pen.




Troy Davis Execution

The overflow crowd lines the road across from the prison grounds after the SWAT team relented and let the protesters take back the roadsides.




Troy Davis Execution

At 6:30 pm, riot police block the driveway entrance to the prison and at 6:42 pm, in anticipation of civil disobedience, more riot police move into position to prepare for confrontation and arrest. As the night continued on, more paramilitary and police forces lined the road outside the prison (pictured at right at 11:35 pm) creating a heavily forcified area.




Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution

Shortly after the riot team is in place, a protester is arrested as police and SWAT teams push back a surging crowd across from the prison grounds. At least five other protesters are soon arrested for crossing the police line.




Troy Davis Execution

At 6:57 pm, just three minutes before the scheduled time of execution, the crowd on the prison grounds begin a circle of prayer.




Troy Davis Execution

At 6:57 pm, just three minutes before the scheduled time of execution, Troy's nephew, De'Jaun Correia, looks toward the sky amidst the crowd.




Troy Davis Execution

At 6:58 pm, just two minutes before the scheduled time of execution, Larry Cox of Amnesty International pauses from a live interview, looking toward the prison.




Troy Davis Execution

At 7:00 pm, as protesters believe Troy is being executed, Rev. Lynn Hopkins and Carolyn Bond comfort each other outside the prison.




Troy Davis Execution

At 7:01 pm, during a live interview on Democracy Now!, a man reacts to the news that there has been a delay in the execution.




Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution

At 7:02 pm, people react to the sudden news that there has been a delay in the execution.




Troy Davis Execution

At 7:05 pm, a crowd gathers around the Troy family in the wake of the good news - with Martina Correia wiping tears in the center of it all.




Troy Davis Execution

At 7:04 pm, one of Troy's attorneys makes a call from the protest pen to find out about the delay in the execution.




Troy Davis Execution

At 7:06 pm, Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President, addresses the crowd to announce that the execution has been delayed, but has not been stayed.




Troy Davis Execution

At 7:08 pm, Dr. Raphael Warnock, Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, leads the crowd in prayer until there is more news about the delicate situation.




Troy Davis Execution

Democracy Now! continues with live coverage all night.




Troy Davis Execution

A sunset over the prison grounds and protest area at 7:34 pm.




Troy Davis Execution

At 8:09 pm, with more than an hour since the delay was announced, De'Jaun Correia, nephew of Troy Davis plays with his cousin Kiersten, waiting it out until further information about the delay is released. Troy's brother and sisters are at right.




Troy Davis Execution

At 8:50 pm, still with no news from the Court, National Action Network member Vizion Jones leads the crowd in prayer and song. NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous (left) bows in prayer.




Troy Davis Execution

Still in limbo, at 9:52 pm, Amnesty's Larry Cox and Laura Moye (l to r) show wear from the long wait - nearly three hours since the execution was supposed to have taken place.




Troy Davis Execution

At 10:18 pm, Dr. Raphael Warnock, Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President, (standing over Martina Correia and other family members) bear the news that the Court delay has been lifted and the execution will proceed. The crowd stays in prayer and in solemn song as the minutes tick by.




Troy Davis Execution

At 11:08 pm, at the exact minute that Troy Davis died, Martina Correia brings a young college student over to Laura Moye (right) to sign up to get involved with Amnesty International. While the student writes down her contact information, Martina gazes toward the prison, not knowing that in that very moment, Troy is gone. Even in the darkness of death and her own ill health, Martina's spirit and drive carries on for the movement.




Troy Davis Execution
Troy Davis Execution

At 11:15 pm on the prison grounds, a prayer circle where Troy is remembered, and people dedicate themselves to keep working against the death penalty.




Troy Davis Execution

And at 11:52 pm, a final closing circle in the nearby church parking lot - at last out of view from the constant media attention. From here, everyone goes their own ways, not in defeat, but with dedication.




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MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EXECUTION EVENTS:

More clemency hearing vigil photos

Post-hearing press conference photos

Capitol protest photos the day before

More photos from the execution in Jackson




Also from the project:        Photos from Troy's 2008 execution date     |     Photos from Troy's 2010 Hearing    |     >Other featured photo galleries

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