Today is the start of the federal death penalty trial of Dylann S. Roof, the white man accused of murdering black worshipers at the Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, S.C. The killings of “the Charleston Nine” last year were as violent and seared with racial hatred as the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi and the 1963 bombing of an Alabama church that killed four little girls.
Although this crime was meant to challenge the black community’s right to exist, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund opposes the death penalty for Mr. Roof. Such a sentence would have the perverse effect of justifying the routine, racially discriminatory imposition of the death penalty on black people.
Read the full op-ed here.