|17 Arrested for Attempting to Stop 1000th U.S. Execution
||[Dec. 3rd, 2005|08:27 am]
x-posted sonria, catholicworker, seamlessgarment, christianleft, antisepticnoise. Sorry for those who get it multiple times.|
RALEIGH -- On December 1, 2005, the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks's act of civil disobedience on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, 17 people were arrested in Raleigh, North Carolina in an attempt to enter Central Prison where Kenneth Boyd was to be executed for the crime of killing members of his family.
At 11:30 p.m., less than three hours before the scheduled 1000th execution in the United States since 1977, a group, loosely calling themselves the Rosa Parks Affinity Group, made their way down the prison driveway towards the front doors of the death house in an attempt to disrupt the flow of deadly chemicals into Kenneth Boyd's veins.
When approached by Capitol Police, the group explained their intentions and attempted to continue on, inviting the police to join them. When further progress towards the prison was inhibited, all 17 people sat down in the driveway. Some read lamentations from the Bible while wearing sackcloth and pouring ashes (Christian signs of mourning and repentance). Others pleaded with the police to stop the execution.
After refusing to leave the area, police arrested all 17, including one juvenile, while the eyes of the world and the media were watching.
Represented in the affinity group were a former death row inmate, murder victim family members, a former state legislator, human rights activists, Christian peacemakers, students, and directors of several national and state death penalty abolition organizations.
Of those arrested, Renny Cushing carried a statement in his pocket which read, "Tonight, with the 1000th execution imminent, remembering the principled act of Rosa Parks, reminds us of the moral challenges that confront us at this point in history."
Cushing's statement went on to read, "Human Rights involve responsibilities. A fundamental responsibility of us all is to be vigilant in protecting the human rights of others. Tonight, my personal conscience accepts the human responsibility to oppose the violation of human rights that is the death penalty. Acting with the power of nonviolence in the face of violence, I enter the grounds of the Central Prison to defend human rights, bear witness against killing in my name, killing in the name of victims, killing in the name of society. I seek to occupy the death house to halt the 1000th execution, and with my body prevent the flow of poison to the prisoner's veins. My intention is not to commit a crime, but to prevent one."
In an act of mourning, members of local North Carolina Christian communities read from the Book of Lamentations while being arrested. "When all the prisoners of the land are crushed under foot, when human rights are perverted in the presence of the Most High, when one's case is subverted -- does the Lord not see it? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands, to God in Heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled, and your have not forgotten. My eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of my people. My eyes will flow without ceasing, without respite, until the Lord from heaven looks down, and sees."
The arrestees all were cited on two violations, and those from out of state were each required to post a $1000 bond. The defendants were charged with second degree trespass and "resisting, obstructing, and delaying a public officer." The group will return to Raleigh on January 24, 2006 for an arraignment hearing.
For information on how to support the defendants at trial and in the time leading up to trial, please contact Scott Langley at (919) 833-4129 or email@example.com
- David Arthur - member of Isaiah House in Durham, NC
- Ethan Bodnaruk - graduate student in Raleigh, NC
- Abe Bonowitz - director of a national death penalty abolition organization, based in FL
- SueZann Bosler - murder victim family member from Miami, FL
- Beth Brockman - community organizer and mother of two in Durham, NC
- Renny Cushing - murder victim family member and former state legislator from NH
- Shujaa Graham - former Californian death row prisoner, lives in MD
- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove - graduate student and member of Rutba House in Durham, NC
- Leah Wilson-Hartgrove - member of Rutba House in Durham, NC
- Sarah Jobe - graduate student and member of Rutba House in Durham, NC
- Scott Langley - member of the Raleigh Catholic Worker in Raleigh, NC
- Sheila McCarthy - graduate student in Durham, NC
- Jack Payden-Travers - director of a state death penalty abolition organization in VA
- Kate Ranganath - death penalty abolition organizer and graduate student in Charlottesville, VA
- Dan Schwankl - member of the Silk Hope Catholic Worker in Silk Hope, NC
- Sheila Stumph - member of the Raleigh Catholic Worker in Raleigh, NC
- David Zoppo - high school student in Wake Forest, NC