The Florida NAACP conference on Saturday urged Florida’s governor to return an officer-murder case to a prosecutor who had it taken away after she said her office will no longer seek the death penalty in any cases.
NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze said that the group’s members don’t support Gov. Rick Scott‘s decision to take the Markeith Loyd case away from State Attorney Aramis Ayala. Television station WKMG reports Nweze spoke at a news conference held Saturday at the group’s quarterly meeting in Orlando.
“The death penalty, killing people, is not the way that we end crime in this state,” said Leon Russell, the chairman of the NAACP national board of directors.
Loyd is charged with first-degree murder in the killings of his ex-girlfriend and Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton.
Scott gave Loyd’s case to another prosecutor after Ayala said she would no longer seek the death penalty.
In explaining her decision earlier this month, Ayala said there is no evidence that shows the death penalty improves public safety for citizens or law enforcement, and it’s costly and drags on for years for the victims’ families.
Ayala said Scott overstepped his authority by taking Loyd’s case away from her, and she has asked for the right to make an argument before a judge about why she should get the case back. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
NAACP officials said Saturday that the death penalty does not stop crime and is expensive. They said money spent on the death penalty should go to other areas.
“Criminal justice spending is outstripping education spending throughout the nation, so why don’t we focus on those things that are actually building our community?” said Ngozi Ndulue, the NAACP national senior director of criminal justice.