The link between capital punishment, race and police brutality

Hands Of The Prisonersource: The Crime Report
published: 22 September 2020

Out of the 57 people currently on federal death row, 34 are people of color, some of whom “were convicted and condemned by all-white juries,” according to a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).

The figures underline the racism at the core of how capital punishment is used in the U.S., and help to provide a context for today’s protests against police brutality, said the DPIC, a nonprofit group advocating for abolition of the death penalty.

“There are strong links between the indelible images of a [police] knee pressed against George Floyd’s neck, the bodies of lynching victims surrounded by jubilant crowds, and the proud onlookers at the last public execution,” the report said.

“Exploring these connections is essential to any full discussion of race and the death penalty in the United States.”

Since the Civil War, white southerners used the criminal justice system as a way to maintain power in a racist society, said the report, entitled “Enduring Injustice: the Persistence of Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Death Penalty.”

Bias against Black Americans continues to be reflected in the modern use of capital punishment, said the report, whose principal author was Ngozi Ndulue.

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Other News:

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan: ‘We gotta do away with the death penalty’
December 2019

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