Protests continue as executions are another day closer

Protesters continue to gather as executions draw closer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A group of protestors say they'll continue to stand outside the governor's mansion every afternoon until their voices are heard.

Protester Sharon Sweeney has been protesting for two weeks, “every evening from after work until the last person goes home.”

Sweeney believes executions are unjust, “it's wrong and inhumane and ultimately we are going to have to answer for what we've done in life and what we've stood up for and what we've watched happen without getting involved.”

She said the decision to move forward with the executions will impact every Arkansan, “we will have blood on our hands if the Governor goes through with the executions.”

Starting executions the day after Easter ads to her list of reasons to protest, “this should be a prayerful time a time for rejoicing and not a time for more killing.

Sweeney said she doesn't trust the system, “the death penalty is not infallible, innocent people have been sentenced to death.

One example of fault in the execution system is Paris Powell. He sat on death row in Oklahoma for a crime he didn't commit from 1993-2009.

“The crime I was placed on death row for was accused of being a part of a retaliation gang bang and drive by shooting. I stand here before you as one hundred percent innocent and they took 16 1/2 years of my life from the age of 19 to 38,” said Powell.

Powell said he came to Arkansas to stand with protestors to try to change the state’s decision so the system doesn't take a possibly innocent life, “I think it's wrong to kill period but I specifically think it's wrong for a system to place anybody on death row because the system's infallible.”

He said Governor Hutchinson needs to rethink this decision one last time because he believes it's wrong and executing 7 men in 10 days is not something he said the state of Arkansas wants to be known for.

“If there is a consciousness, awareness, and a spirituality in Arkansas and overall, then you will have a problem with this,” he said.

Protestors will gather on the capitol steps Friday around noon and they said they will protest all weekend. They also plan to protest at Cummins on Monday when the first executions are set to take place.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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