Want to Abolish the Death Penalty? Start by Abolishing the Police

On June 16, 1944, the State of South Carolina executed George Stinney, a fourteen-year-old black boy who was convicted of murder by an all-white jury, following a sham trial.  Seventy years later, the State of Ohio executed Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old black boy after no trial.  Twenty-four days after a white police officer executed Tamir, George was finally exonerated.  And so George and Tamir, although executed by different states, in different times, and in different ways, are bound together by their striking commonalities: they were both young, black boys who were executed by the State after doing no wrong.  George was executed via the post-trial mechanism, and Tamir was executed via the no-trial mechanism.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, only 31 US states and the federal government have the death penalty on the books, with 19 states having done away with the practice.  In actuality, all 50 states administer the death penalty, and all but three states have executed at least one person thus far this year.

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