OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Calling for the abolition of the death penalty
"GW College Democrats expresses its sorrow and outrage at the federal execution of Brandon Bernard. We call on the incoming Biden administration to suspend executions and repeal the death penalty at the federal level, and for governors and legislatures to do the same at the state level.
"Brandon Bernard’s execution was a travesty of justice. His trial – which took place when he was 18 – was botched, by the accounts of the prosecutors and five of the jurors. Yet efforts to bring justice were rebuffed time and time again, including by the Supreme Court mere hours before the state killed Mr. Bernard.
"The reality is clear: the death penalty is the grotesque capstone of a criminal justice system designed to lock up and kill Black and brown people in this country. Between incomplete trials, countless wrongful convictions, and screams of “I feel my whole body burning” from the condemned as lethal injections are administered, it is inhumane for the state to execute people. Ending capital punishment is far from the only step needed to reimagine our criminal justice system, but it would be a big step nonetheless. The Biden Administration must stop all federal executions permanently, and state officials around the country must work in their own jurisdictions to end this barbaric practice.
"It is too late for Brandon Bernard to have a shot at justice, but it is not too late for others whose cases should be revisited or whose convictions should be vacated."