N.C. NAACP to bring fight for Smith, Sharpe here

N.C. NAACP to bring fight for Smith, Sharpe here
July 28
09:45 2016



The N.C. NAACP is once again joining with the movements to free Kalvin Michael Smith and Dontae Sharpe – two black men supporters say were falsely accused, convicted and imprisoned for crimes they did not commit – in “major statewide actions”  to demand that Gov. Pat McCrory and State Attorney General Roy Cooper “compel justice and hasten the Department of Justice ” to release them.

“It is immoral to forget the pain of those behind bars so easily – though they may be separated from us by concrete walls and the label of criminal, they are our brothers and sisters, and they are God’s children,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, said in the statement.

Kalvin Smith is serving up to 29 years in prison, charged with the December 1995 brutal assault in Winston-Salem of an assistant store manager, even though there was no physical evidence connecting him with the crime.

Witnesses placed Smith on the other side of town at the time, and subsequent investigations, including by a retired FBI agent, note that the Winston-Salem Police Department’s original investigation was shoddy at best.

Cooper, however,  has refused to join with Smith’s attorneys to ask for a new trial.

Cooper and McCrory are running for governor of North Carolina this year; Cooper as a Democrat and McCrory as a Republican.

Dontae Sharpe has been serving a life sentence since 1994 for a murder during a drug buy in Greenville. Sharpe was reportedly offered a plea deal by the Pitt County District Attorney for time served, but turned it down, saying that he could not accept it for a crime that he did not commit.

The Duke University Wrongful Convictions Clinic is working on Sharpe’s case.

In a recently released statement, the N.C. NAACP and the N.C. NAACP’s Youth and College Division designated Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 as not only special days of advocacy for Sharpe and Smith in Greenville and Winston-Salem respectively, but also days of tribute to the work and memory of the late Darryl Hunt.

At the age of 19, Hunt was falsely convicted of a 1984 Winston-Salem murder. He served 19 years in prison, even though DNA evidence proved him innocent a decade before he was released. After his release, Hunt worked diligently to help other victims of false prosecutions. Darryl Hunt died last March.

The civil rights organization has previously called for justice in both cases, most recently last March when the N.C. NAACP joined with the families of Smith and Sharpe in calling for the governor and state attorney general to intercede on their behalf.

“We are sending a message in North Carolina to all those running for elected office,” Barber said. “People of good will not end our advocacy on behalf of these two innocent men, Dontae and Kalvin, until they are set free and their convictions vacated.

“This miscarriage of justice must end and courageous leadership must emerge,” Barber continued. “It is no longer acceptable in the state of North Carolina to play politics with the lives of black men and black  women, and hope the civil rights community and our allies stand by quietly.  We must all cry out against this injustice committed in our names. United, we can bring about a lasting change.”

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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