NAACP Leader Calls On Governor To Pardon "Wilmington 10"
The head of the state's NAACP is asking Governor Perdue to pardon ten activists who were convicted of arson in the midst of racial tensions in Wilmington in 1972. The "Wilmington Ten," as they're known, were set free in 1980. That was after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions, saying the prosecutor and the trial judge had violated the defendants' constitutional rights. But the group has never received an official pardon from the state. NAACP head Reverend William Barber says newly discovered notes by the assistant district attorney in the case show he engaged in racial profiling when selecting the jury.
William Barber: "32 years after the federal courts overturned their sentence, North Carolina time and time again has refused to pardon them. And now we have this evidence. If this direct evidence had been available for the first circuit, we believe they would have recommended prosecuting the prosecutor."
Governor Perdue has not said whether she plans to pardon the group. A spokeswoman for the governor says she will evaluate all petitions for pardon on their own merits.