Proposed Racial Justice Act looks at race relations in death penalty

1 year 3 months 4 days ago February 22, 2016 Feb 22, 2016 Monday, February 22 2016 Monday, February 22, 2016 5:15:00 PM CST in News
By: Taylor Stevens, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - Organizations from across the state met Monday to discuss two bills called the Racial Justice Act that are making their way through the state legislature.

The act would require the Missouri Supreme Court to consider whether race played a significant role in the decision to pursue the death penalty. If so, judges would have to commute the sentence to life in prison without parole. 

The Moral Agenda for Missouri, the NAACP and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty hosted the conference at the Capitol. Five representatives from different organizations spoke about the importance of the act and what they called "deeply-rooted concerns in Missouri's death penalty."

Nimrod Chapel, Jr., president of Missouri's NAACP, said the act has potential to change the justice system.

"These bills can make a real difference in Missouri," Chapel said. "They can play a big role in reducing the role racism has in the system."

Kendall Martinez-Wright attended the conference and said the bills address a moral issue.

"A majority of the people receiving the death penalty are people of color," Martinez-Wright said. "That isn't right. That is unjust. That is an example of systematic racism."

Speakers provided the audience of about 20 people with a graphic showing 99 percent of Missouri prosecutors are white. Staci Pratt represented MADP and said this lack of diversity is another problem within the system.

"Subjective decisions to seek the death penalty happen in non race-neutral contexts," Pratt said. "No more will we tolerate this."

Rep. Tommie Pierson, D-St. Louis, spoke on behalf of the Racial Justice Act, saying it would echo a movement for equality.

"When we say 'black lives matter,' we aren't saying no other lives matter," Pierson said. "We're saying our lives are just as important as everyone else's."

Jeremy Collins is a member of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and he spoke in support of the act, addressing what he called, "grossly disproportionately represented incarcerations."

"It's not about who commits the crime, it's about who we police," Collins said. "We are asking for support such that no person is executed where race is a significant factor."

No one at the meeting spoke out against the act.

 

 

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have recovered two bodies and are searching for a third person after their vehicle was... More >>
1 hour ago May 28, 2017 May 28, 2017 Sunday, May 28 2017 Sunday, May 28, 2017 1:38:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Relatives of two of four people killed when a steam-filled tank weighing nearly 2,000 pounds (900... More >>
1 hour ago May 28, 2017 May 28, 2017 Sunday, May 28 2017 Sunday, May 28, 2017 1:33:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a man who barricaded himself inside a home repeatedly fired at officers... More >>
20 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 6:54:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City, Missouri, police say they are searching for a man who shot two people,... More >>
20 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 6:46:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A new business pushes it’s clients to their limit and has them sweating bullets. Two former NFL... More >>
22 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:06:00 PM CDT in Sports
COLUMBIA - A resettlement agency supporting refugees had a surplus in donations, so it decided to sell some of its... More >>
22 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 4:47:00 PM CDT in News
As of 6:00 p.m. 23,491 Electric Cooperative member-consumers are without power As of 5:37 p.m. Saturday, Ameren reports that... More >>
22 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 4:21:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Traditional Native American food, crafts and dancing can be found at the tenth annual "For the People"... More >>
23 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 3:48:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Two teens were arrested early Saturday morning in relation to an armed robbery Friday night. Columbia Police... More >>
23 hours ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 3:46:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
BOONE COUNTY - One person was extricated from a vehicle and taken to the hospital with serious injuries after a... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:53:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA— The start of the ninth annual Pedaler’s Jamboree was held on Saturday. Nine years ago when the event... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:24:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The 29th Annual Salute to Veterans Air Show is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Three people were taken to hospitals by emergency personnel following a three-car wreck Saturday morning. A... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 1:08:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA – Public pools in Columbia opens for Memorial Day weekend, but they are still looking for more people to... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 11:29:00 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Two months after the idea was first introduced to leaders in Springfield, Missouri, the city's new... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 11:13:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a man who exchanged gunfire with officers during an hours-long standoff has... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 11:09:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers have passed a proposal in a special session that supporters hope will bring hundreds... More >>
1 day ago May 27, 2017 May 27, 2017 Saturday, May 27 2017 Saturday, May 27, 2017 5:13:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A father was sentenced in federal court Friday for threatening the attorney who represented one of his... More >>
1 day ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 8:04:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 77°
3pm 79°
4pm 79°
5pm 80°
6pm 79°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
PGA Tour Champions Golf
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
1:30p
A Knight's Tale
4:00p
Wrong Turn at Tahoe
6:00p
A Thousand Words

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
8:00p
American Ninja Warrior
6:00p
A Thousand Words
8:00p
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld