Rodney Reed has been in a Texas prison for 21 years for the murder of Stacey Stites in 1996 and a new witness has stepped forward pleading his innocence and new evidence has shown that Stites' ex-fiance was the one responsible for her murder. There are currently around 2,500 inmates on death row awaiting their death and in a study conducted in 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences, at least 4.1 percent of defendants on death row are innocent. And according to the ACLU, from 1976 to 2015, 1,392 executions occurred in the United States, and 995 of them took place in the South — this number is steadily increasing.
The justice system has failed their citizens and by executing Rodney Reed, even with the evidence and witness that support his innocence, the courts are continuing to fail them. The Innocence Project has helped free thousands of people who were wrongfully accused, but they can't help everyone. Reed's defense team is hoping that Texas Governor Greg Abbot will stop Reed's execution because Abbot's stopped an execution before.
When Reed's story first broke out, I'm not ashamed to say that I was very ignorant and skipped over it because I just didn't care too much, but then I kept seeing it on my feed, so I decided to look into it and when I read that there was evidence that proved he was innocent, I knew that I couldn't keep a close-minded view on his story and I changed my beliefs on the death penalty and signed the petition.
There is physical proof that Rodney Reed is innocent and was framed for a murder he didn't commit, so why is he being denied clemency? Reed's story has picked up traction from all over and has gained the attention of celebrities like Reggie Bush, T.I. Harris, Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, Meek Mill, and others. The petition to save Reed from execution has reached 75 percent of its goal, but that may not be enough.
I encourage people who favor capital punishment to look at Rodney Reed's story and try to understand that he will be another innocent black man killed for something he didn't do. Don't be apart of the problem — be apart of the solution to fix the broken system.