Californian inmate Kevin Cooper has been proven innocent, yet still awaits the retraction of his death penalty.
Cooper, who has been on death row since 1985, was charged with the murder of 4 family members, in an attack in 1983. The incident also left another child seriously injured, whose testimony eventually proved crucial to the case.
Since the accused had been staying in close proximity to the crime scene at the time, whilst on the run, the police decided that he must be the perpetrator. Claiming links between Cooper and blood found at the scene, he was branded guilty by investigators.
During the case, someone reportedly hung a stuffed monkey outside the courtroom, with a sign that read, “Kill that N****”.
Later however, when the injured young boy from the incident had made his recovery, he gave his version of events. He recalled that multiple attackers were responsible for the murders, none of which were African-American men.
This account of the events gave Cooper a glimmer of hope and an appeal was filed. It was uncovered that the police had tampered with evidence in order to achieve a conviction against the suspect.
It is strongly suspected that this case was a racially motivated framing, which led to an innocent man being sentenced to death.
Despite judges confirming Cooper’s innocence, he still to this day awaits the lifting of his death sentence. The decision is reportedly in the hands of Governor Jerry Brown, to whom several pleas have been sent in efforts to free Cooper.
A campaign has been set up, using the hashtag ‘#FreeKevinCooper’, which urges supporters to sign a petition to help push the case forward.