Rally To Abolish The Death Penalty Held At OK Capitol

Dozens met at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Sunday afternoon to rally to kill the death penalty for good in Oklahoma.

Sunday, May 18th 2014, 11:01 pm

By: News 9

Dozens met at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Sunday afternoon to rally to kill the death penalty for good in Oklahoma.

People came with signs, shirts, buttons and even songs to talk executions and why many in the group aren't for them.

"Let's speak out and continue to give opposition to this death penalty," said Oklahoma City NAACP President Garland Pruitt.

Speakers from several organizations, including the Oklahoma Conference of Churches and the ACLU spoke in response to last month's botched execution.

"Clayton Lockett is now dead, we tortured him to death, but in doing so we have earned the disrespect of the entire civilized world," said ACLU legal director Brady Henderson.

"We have put a black eye on our state, we have done something absolutely abhorrent, and the biggest thing is it didn't bring Stephanie Nieman back to life."

This Halt Executions Rally was put on by the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Board member Rex Friend brought his whole family.

"This is an issue with a lot of aspects, and it's not just about vengeance," Friend said.

He says the way death sentences are applied is both racist and classist.

"Essentially the only people on death row that get executed are poor and or minority, why it is that we think we can afford this extravagant aspect of our justice system?" Friend said.

A song titled "Death Penalty" was played by the Broke Brothers Band featuring Jahruba on the drums. The lyrics said, "Killing is killing no matter what kind. Eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind. They got gas chambers, electric chair, illegal injections from a millionaire. Call yourself a capitalist or a Christian, that's alright. It's takes less not to take his life."

One sign listed 138 death row prisoners exonerated in the U.S. and how 10 were in Oklahoma. State Sen. Constance Johnson told the crowd how she doesn't support the death penalty even after her brother was murdered at Langston University decades ago.

"I had to forgive the person who killed my brother 30 years ago, and it's the only thing that really worked for my family," Johnson said. "Killing the other person is not going to bring the relief that they think it will. We just have two people dead and two different families grieving."

Both Johnson and Rep. Seneca Scott have bills to halt all executions in the state for one year.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has delayed all executions for six months while an investigation is underway into last month's lethal injection of Clayton Lockett. 


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