Opposed To Resuming Executions
As Oklahoma prepares to restart death penalty executions, the state’s leading civil rights organization said earlier this week it’s opposed to executions.
The announcement to restart executions was made this month by the governor, state attorney general and director of the state corrections department.
Anthony Douglas, president of the Oklahoma Conference of Branches of the NAACP, said the group is not only opposed to capital punishment, but also to the “the tools to induce state-sponsored murder.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt, State Attorney General Mike Hunter and Scott Crow (director of the state Department of Corrections) said executions would be resumed since adjustments had been made to execution protocol and the state has secured a supply of drugs with which to resume executions.
The state put a hold on executions after a botched execution of a convicted murderer.
The botched execution drew wide international outrage.
“None of the officials making the announcement of execution resumptions mentioned the missteps that resulted in the botched executions of Clayton Lockett or Charles Warner,” Mr. Douglas said, “nor did they mention Oklahoma’s egregious history of wrongful conviction.”
The last execution in Oklahoma was in 2015.
“A lethal injection that causes a person to convulse between life and death for several minutes is, by any inhumane definition, cruel and unusual punishment,” the leader of the State NACP pointed out.
“The botched execution of Charles Warner took 18 gruesome minutes,” Mr. Douglas continued, “while Clayton Lockett struggled and suffered for over 30 minutes prior to death.”
The three drugs that will continue to be used are midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride, the state NAACP leader explained.
“However, the 2015 law allowing the state to develop a method for nitrogen hypoxia specifically states that death sentences shall be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia, only if the drugs for lethal injections are unavailable and do not work,” he continued.
“What this means, is that, if the lethal injection does not work, Oklahoma can still administer nitrogen hypoxia at any point during the execution.”
“We believe the death penalty is not and never will be the solution to violence in our society,” Mr. Douglas went on.
“The death penalty system is inequitable and unfair in its implementation.
“It is racist, predisposed to executing the poor and destitute among us.”
“The death penalty does not deter crime or keep our community safer, it is unfairly applied to poor people, people of color and the mentally ill,” he continued.
“Forty-two percent of inmates currently on death
row and 34 percent of those executed since 1976 were African-American,” he said, “although Black people make up only 13 percent of the nation’s population.”
Numerous families and loved ones of murder victims support alternatives to the death penalty, the state NAACP leader said. He also said many death row inmates have been wrongly convicted.