Members of the NAACP want Missouri voters to abolish the death penalty.
Organization leaders are preparing to gather signatures for a ballot issue and planning several rallies against capital punishment.
The petition will call for the end of the death penalty in Missouri. If they get enough signatures for their petition, organizers want to put it to a statewide vote.
Missouri NAACP president Mary Ratliff said, â??Across the nation we have seen innocent people executed. Even those that were not executed, weâ??ve seen innocent people who could have been one of those people on death row found to be innocent by DNA.â??
Ratliff plans to hold a rally against capital punishment in Columbia sometime in August. Organizers have not announced a location or date. Columbia attorney Stephen Wyse believes some Missouri prosecutors misuse the death penalty. He supports a moratorium on capital punishment in Missouri until court officials add more safeguards. However, Wyse believes the death penalty is necessary in some cases.
Wyse said, â??There are certain crimes that are outrageous enough and such a threat to society that the death penalty can be appropriate, but we overuse it.â??
NAACP organizers said their petition drive should be underway by the end of July. They hope to have an approved ballot question within the next year.
NAACP officials said they are taking their death penalty ban issue to voters after several unsuccessful attempts to sway Governor Jay Nixon and other Missouri lawmakers.