The national president of the NAACP came to Hartford today to discuss his opposition to the state’s death penalty. As WNPR’s Marie Kuhn reports, he was hoping to speak to Governor Rell before she vetoed the bill.
Just a few hours after Governor Rell killed legislation to abolish the death penalty in the state, opponents gathered at the Capitol to express their disappointment with her decision. Among them was Benjamin Todd Jealous, the 17th National President and C.E.O. of the NAACP. Jealous said he had asked to speak with Governor Rell days ago.
“I frankly expected that Governor Rell would pay me the basic respect of talking to me five minutes before she vetoed the bill, rather than five minutes after. A cowardly act in a serious issue.”
Jealous said he was also disappointed with Rell’s decision to not meet with the families of murder victims who oppose the death penalty.
He described his conversation with Rell as brief and heated. And Jealous says it was apparent that she had not considered all of the factors that lead some to oppose capitol punishment, such as the financial realities of the capitol punishment.
“She was ready to talk about issues of fairness; she was ready to admit that race was an issue, which of course knocked the wind out of me because if you believe race is an issue, why are you tolerating executing people on death row?"
Jealous noted that the death penalty in Connecticut has resulted in a disproportionate number of minorities on death row, more than any other state except Texas.
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