02-27-2021  7:27 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
I-5 Rose Quarter Project Open House
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NORTHWEST NEWS

All Oregonians Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine by July 1

People who are 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions will be eligible starting March 29

City Permanently Cuts Funds to Portland Neighborhood Group

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the city’s civic life bureau, opted to remove funding from Southwest Neighborhoods Inc. after an audit found that money had been mismanaged.

Black Restaurant Week Comes to Portland

National event highlights Black-owned restaurants, cafes, and food trucks, creates countrywide database to support Black businesses

Portland Police Launch Team to Investigate Shootings

 The Enhanced Community Safety Team will be comprised of three sergeants, 12 officers and six detectives, and will staff a seven-member on-call unit to respond to shooting scenes, examine evidence, interview witnesses and do immediate follow-up investigations

NEWS BRIEFS

Senators Markey, Smith, and Booker and Rep. Jackson Lee Re-introduce Legislation to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

“Juneteenth,” observed on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States ...

HB 1465, To Increase the Death Tax Rate in Washington State To 40%

The Washington Policy Center's Vice President for Research, Paul Guppy today released a study on the bill ...

Seattle Black Artist To Be Featured in Amazon Prime Series

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), in Seattle, Washington, is launching a call for artist...

NIKE, Inc. and Goalsetter Partner to Increase Financial Literacy Among America’s Youth

Goalsetter uses digital platforms to engage youth and help them better understand financial well-being, while saving for their future ...

Six Trailblazing Black Judges to Discuss Overcoming Challenges Feb. 26

The online program panel judges include Justice Adrienne Nelson, the first Black justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the first...

Hotel fined for overcharging people during wildfire

ROSEBURG, ORe. (AP) — A hotel in Roseburg, Oregon, has been fined ,000 for overcharging dozens of area residents who sought rooms after fleeing a large wildfire in September.The News-Review reports SUBH Investment LLC, which does business as Days Inn by Wyndham in Roseburg, entered into...

Grazing rights rescinded for controversial Oregon ranchers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Interior on Friday rescinded a January Trump administration decision to grant grazing allotments to an Oregon ranching family whose members were convicted of arson in a court battle that triggered the takeover of a federal...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

OPINION

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

The Heroes Within Us

Black History Month, as it exists today, continues the practice of “othering” Black people in America. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Analysis: Biden ambitions run into reality of Senate's rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — The early ambitions of Joe Biden's presidency are quickly running into the guardrails of archaic Senate rules, testing his willingness to remake an institution he reveres to fulfill many of the promises he has made to Americans. It's a wonky, Washington dilemma with...

New Orleans move to vacate 22 non-unanimous jury convictions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Prosecutors in New Orleans moved Friday to have convictions overturned for 22 people found guilty of felonies by non-unanimous juries, and to review hundreds of other such convictions obtained under a law with roots in the Jim Crow era. District Attorney Jason Williams,...

Oregon high court affirms juries can acquit in split votes

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court, ruling before the start of a murder case, has upheld that a defendant can be acquitted by a nonunanimous verdict, months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that guilty verdicts must be unanimous.The decision Thursday keeps Oregon as the only state...

ENTERTAINMENT

Tonywatch: Playwright Katori Hall 'reaching for humanity'

NEW YORK (AP) — Most playwrights who dip their toes into musical theater for the first time go small. Not Katori Hall: Her first assignment was to capture the life of a musical giant — Tina Turner.“I’m not really scared of much, which is probably why I felt like...

Laying out data, Netflix touts its record on inclusivity

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix on Friday released a study it commissioned from top academic researchers that shows the streaming giant is outpacing much of the film industry in the inclusivity of its original films and television series.For years, academic studies have sought to capture...

Black News Channel reloads with talk focus, morning show

NEW YORK (AP) — Four hours of morning television is a lot of time to fill, but new Black News Channel hosts Mike Hill and Sharon Reed don't expect to run out of things to say.Their new program, which debuts Monday at 6 a.m. Eastern, is the centerpiece of Black News Channel's relaunch to...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

LeBron James rejects Zlatan's criticism of activist athletes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James responded to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's criticism of his political activism with...

Human trafficking charges novel approach in gymnastics case

The human trafficking case brought against a former U.S. Olympics women’s gymnastics coach hours before he...

Pakistan expert: Religiosity aiding spike in militancy

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Militant attacks are on the rise in Pakistan amid a growing religiosity that has brought...

EXPLAINER: How US airstrike in Syria sends message to Iran

BEIRUT (AP) — A U.S. airstrike targeting facilities used by Iran-backed militias in Syria appears to be a...

The Latest: Virus sidelines most Toronto Raptors coaches

TAMPA, Fla. — The Toronto Raptors played without most of their coaching staff and one player on Friday...

Experts notice pandemic's mental health toll on German youth

BERLIN (AP) — Pollina Dinner returned to school in Berlin for the first time this week after two months of...

I-5 Rose Quarter Project Open House 2
Greg Bluestein the Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- Strapped to a gurney in Georgia's death chamber, Troy Davis lifted his head and declared one last time that he did not kill police officer Mark MacPhail. Just a few feet away behind a glass window, MacPhail's son and brother watched in silence.

Outside the prison, a crowd of more than 500 demonstrators cried, hugged, prayed and held candles. They represented hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide who took up the anti-death penalty cause as Davis' final days ticked away.

"I am innocent," Davis said moments before he was executed Wednesday night. "All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight."

Prosecutors and MacPhail's family said justice had finally been served.

"I'm kind of numb. I can't believe that it's really happened," MacPhail's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said in a telephone interview from her home in Columbus, Ga. "All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace."

She dismissed Davis' claims of innocence.

"He's been telling himself that for 22 years. You know how it is, he can talk himself into anything."

Former President Jimmy Carter said in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday he hopes Davis' execution "will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment."

"If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated," Carter said.

Davis was executed late Wednesday night for the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. His supporters say he was the victim of mistaken identity, while prosecutors and MacPhail's family said justice was finally served after four years of delays..

"If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated," said Carter, who urged Georgia's pardons board to block the execution.

Davis was scheduled to die at 7 p.m., but the hour came and went as the U.S. Supreme Court apparently weighed the case. More than three hours later, the high court said it wouldn't intervene. The justices did not comment on their order rejecting Davis' request for a stay.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions on Davis' behalf and he had prominent supporters. His attorneys said seven of nine key witnesses against him disputed all or parts of their testimony, but state and federal judges repeatedly ruled against him - three times on Wednesday alone.

When asked Thursday on NBC's "Today" show if he thought the state had executed an innocent man, civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton said: "I believe that they did, but even beyond my belief, they clearly executed a man who had established much, much reasonable doubt."

Officer MacPhail's widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris, said it was "a time for healing for all families."

"I will grieve for the Davis family because now they're going to understand our pain and our hurt," she said in a telephone interview from Jackson. "My prayers go out to them. I have been praying for them all these years. And I pray there will be some peace along the way for them."

Davis' supporters staged vigils in the U.S. and Europe, declaring "I am Troy Davis" on signs, T-shirts and the Internet. Some tried increasingly frenzied measures, urging prison workers to stay home and even posting a judge's phone number online, hoping people would press him to put a stop to the lethal injection. President Barack Obama deflected calls for him to get involved.

"They say death row; we say hell no!" protesters shouted outside the Jackson prison before Davis was executed. In Washington, a crowd outside the Supreme Court yelled the same chant.

As many as 700 demonstrators gathered outside the prison as a few dozen riot police stood watch, but the crowd thinned as the night wore on and the outcome became clear.

Davis' execution had been halted three times since 2007. The U.S. Supreme Court even gave Davis an unusual opportunity to prove his innocence in a lower court last year. While the nation's top court didn't hear the case, they did set a tough standard for Davis to exonerate himself, ruling that his attorneys must "clearly establish" Davis' innocence - a higher bar to meet than prosecutors having to prove guilt. After the hearing, a lower court judge ruled in prosecutors' favor, and the justices didn't take up the case.

His attorney Stephen Marsh said Davis would have spent part of Wednesday taking a polygraph test if pardons officials had taken his offer seriously. But they, too, said they wouldn't reconsider their decision. Georgia's governor does not have the power to grant condemned inmates clemency.

As his last hours ticked away, an upbeat and prayerful Davis turned down an offer for a special last meal as he met with friends, family and supporters.

"Troy Davis has impacted the world," his sister Martina Correia said before the execution. "They say, `I am Troy Davis,' in languages he can't speak."

Members of Davis' family who witnessed the execution left without talking to reporters.

Davis' supporters included Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, a former FBI director, the NAACP, several conservative figures and many celebrities, including hip-hop star Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.

"I'm trying to bring the word to the young people: There is too much doubt," rapper Big Boi, of the Atlanta-based group Outkast, said at a church near the prison.

At a Paris rally, many of the roughly 150 demonstrators carried signs emblazoned with Davis' face. "Everyone who looks a little bit at the case knows that there is too much doubt to execute him," Nicolas Krameyer of Amnesty International said at the protest.

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing MacPhail, who was working as a security guard at the time. MacPhail rushed to the aid of a homeless man who prosecutors said Davis was bashing with a handgun after asking him for a beer. Prosecutors said Davis had a smirk on his face as he shot the officer to death in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah.

No gun was ever found, but prosecutors say shell casings were linked to an earlier shooting for which Davis was convicted.

Witnesses placed Davis at the crime scene and identified him as the shooter, but several of them have recanted their accounts and some jurors have said they've changed their minds about his guilt. Others have claimed a man who was with Davis that night has told people he actually shot the officer.

"Such incredibly flawed eyewitness testimony should never be the basis for an execution," Marsh said. "To execute someone under these circumstances would be unconscionable."

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which helped lead the charge to stop the execution, said it considered asking Obama to intervene, even though he cannot grant Davis clemency for a state conviction.

Press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement saying that although Obama "has worked to ensure accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system," it was not appropriate for him "to weigh in on specific cases like this one, which is a state prosecution."

Dozens of protesters outside the White House called on the president to step in, and about 12 were arrested for disobeying police orders.

Davis was not the only U.S. inmate put to death Wednesday evening. In Texas, white supremacist gang member Lawrence Russell Brewer was put to death for the 1998 dragging death of a black man, James Byrd Jr., one of the most notorious hate crime murders in recent U.S. history.

On Thursday, Alabama is scheduled to execute Derrick Mason, who was convicted in the 1994 shooting death of convenience store clerk Angela Cagle.

OTHER TROY DAVIS ARTICLES
Is Troy Davis Another Horrific Example of Innocent Execution?
The Troy Davis Execution: Latest News, Video, Action Center and Links
Troy Davis Execution Nears; Protests Worldwide


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Associated Press reporters Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga.; Kate Brumback and Marina Hutchinson in Jackson, Ga.; Eric Tucker and Erica Werner in Washington and Sohrab Monemi in Paris contributed to this report.

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Follow Bluestein at http://www.twitter.com/bluestein .

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