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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Kevin Cooper to die

It's time for action!
A man named Kevin Cooper has been given a date to die: On Feb. 10, 2004, the State of California plans to kill him, by pumping him full of poison.

Cooper, convicted back in 1984 of the slaying of 3 members of the Ryen clan, and a visiting family friend, was also charged with stabbing an 8-year old boy, but luckily the child survived.

Why lucky? Well, apart from the obvious reason (his sheer survival), Joshua Ryen saw who attacked him, and upon recovery told police that it was 3 white or Latino men who slew his family, his friend, and tried to kill him.

When young Josh saw TV news accounts of the attacks, he turned to a cop who was present, and exclaimed, when the picture of Kevin Cooper flashed across the screen, "That wasn't the guy who did it. It was 3 Mexicans."

... out of the mouths of babes, eh?

But, San Bernardino officials didn't care; what does it matter that the lone surviving victim cleared their suspect? It meant nothing. They had their man -- and on the 10th of February, they wanna kill him.

Kevin Cooper, now a man of 45 years, has spent the last 19 years of his life on California's Death Row, for a series of brutal crimes -- that he did not commit.

Cooper turned his cell into a school room; studying writing, politics and African-American history. He has grown into a vibrant, talented and educated individual -- yet California still wants to extinguish his light.

It is important to note that he is an African-American man. That wasn't lost during his Dec. 1984 trial, around which time demonstrators, calling for his death, hung a toy gorilla in effigy. Indeed, the media coverage was so hyped, the demonstrations so hostile, that the trial was moved to San Diego.

Not only was the only living eyewitness ignored; but shortly after the murders, a local woman came forward to tell police that she thought her boyfriend was involved in the grisly killings. Why? When he came home the night of the slayings, she said, he was wearing a pair of overalls, drenched in blood. The woman turned them over to the cops. Before the day was over, the overalls were pitched into the station's dumpster. Did it
matter that the man was wearing a t-shirt the color and brand of the t-shirt found in the scene -- it also, bloody? No. Did it matter that he owned a hatchet, like a weapon used in the Ryen home, and it was conveniently missing from the couple's home.


None of it mattered.

They wanted, and focused on, Kevin Cooper; nothing else mattered.

Police and prosecutors told jurors that a bloody shoe- print found at the scene conclusively proved Cooper's guilt. Were the jurors told that Deputy William Baird had a pair of prison shoes in his (crime) lab, which were Cooper's size? What they also didn't know was that the Deputy, post-trial, was fired for stealing five pounds of heroin from the evidence locker--five pounds--both to use and to sell--to drug dealers!

Kevin Cooper is on Death Row, awaiting a date with death, based on 'investigators' such as these!


Welcome to the American Way of Death!

Help save--no; help Free Kevin Cooper!

Call, fax or email Governor Schwarzenegger.

Phone number: 916-445-2841
Fax number: 916-445-4633
E-mail address: governor (at)

Tell him to do the right thing.

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Re: Kevin Cooper to die

Dear Governor,
Wednesday, February 11, will be the 14th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from imprisonment by the government of South Africa. This appeal for clemency for Kevin Cooper and a general amnesty for many of the imprisoned human beings in the State of California is predicated on an understanding that mercy can be a tool for the redemption of a society. The release of Mandela changed the world. This event deserves to be honored in a special way. You have a unique opportunity to make a significant difference in the perception of the world regarding compassion in these United States and our humility in making this gesture of mercy. On February 12, 1973, the first American POWs were released to U.S. officials near Hanoi, North Vietnam. This event also changed the world. Acts of mercy are sometimes forgotten but their influence on our national identity is lasting and deserves this kind of recognition. Attention to these issues of collective awareness identifies your humanity. Our people’s struggle for justice and truth will always embrace compassion.
Toward understanding,
Stephen Paulmier


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