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Opponents of death penalty march Sunday in Nashville


Opponents of the death penalty rallied in downtown Nashville to protest the execution of Oscar Smith in the March4Mercy.
Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -Opponents of the death penalty rallied in downtown Nashville to protest the execution of Oscar Smith in the March4Mercy.

People in Sunday’s march included members from several churches, former death row prisoners, and numerous others. The march started at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison Institution and ended at the Legislative Plaza. Participants walked for three hours.

Smith’s execution is set for Thursday, which would mark the return of executions in the state after they were put on hold after a Governor-imposed moratorium due to COVID-19.

A pastor who knows Smith says that no one deserves to be executed.

“Execution is unjust no matter what the circumstance is,” Kevin Riggs said. “Because everyone can be redeemed. Everyone’s life is worthy. Even if you’ve taken someone’s life, your life has value.”

Oscar Smith's execution is scheduled for Thursday.
Oscar Smith's execution is scheduled for Thursday.(Tennessee Department of Corrections)

A March4Mercy has been held before executions since August 2019. That particular march was before the state’s execution of Stephen West. During the protest, marchers carry a poster-size replica of the letter to Governor Bill Lee signed and sent in June 2019 by 32 condemned prisoners that invited Lee to visit the prison to pray with the men who await their execution.

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