AT 19-YEARS-OLD, DONTAE WAS WRONGFULLY PROSECUTED AND INCARCERATED FOR A CRIME HE DID NOT COMMIT. Despite the lack of evidence and a recantation from the prosecution’s star witness, for over two decades Dontae has been separated from his mother, brothers, and loving community.
We had the honor of spending some time with Sarah Blakely, Dontae’s mother, to tell us her story about fighting for her son. WATCH OUR VIDEO OF MS. SARAH, DONTAE’S MOTHER, TELLING HER STORY HERE.
In 1994, Dontae was accused of killing another young man in Pitt County, North Carolina. The prosecution’s case relied heavily on the testimony of A KEY WITNESS, WHO LATER ADMITTED TO LYING UNDER OATH in order to appease the leading detective on the case. Furthermore, no physical evidence ever linked Dontae to the crime.1
Local organizations including the North Carolina NAACP, SpiritHouse and Forward Justice have JUST FILED A MOTION INTRODUCING NEW EVIDENCE THAT COULD FREE DONTAE. The medical examiner who testified on behalf of the State during Dontae’s trial has recently concluded that THE STATE’S EXPLANATION FOR THE MURDER IS “MEDICALLY AND SCIENTIFICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.”2
NORTH CAROLINA GOV. ROY COOPER, NC ATTORNEY GENERAL JOSH STEIN, AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY KIMBERLY ROBB ALL HAVE THE POWER TO RECTIFY THIS HORRIBLE SITUATION.
WATCH OUR VIDEO WITH DONTAE’S MOTHER SARAH, AND THEN SIGN OUR PETITION TO DEMAND THESE LEADERS #FREEDONTAESHARPE!
It is not unusual for police officers to manipulate evidence in order to lock Black people away. WE HAVE SEEN POLICE OFFICERS AND PROSECUTORS COERCING FALSE CONFESSIONS, TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE, AND LYING UNDER OATH ALL TO KEEP BLACK PEOPLE IN CAGES. This blatant abuse of power needs to be addressed immediately.
Dontae lost so much. At the young age of 19, the possibilities were endless. The racist criminal justice system in North Carolina essentially stole his adolescence and most importantly, robbed him of his future. Worst of all, DONTAE’S MOM HAS BEEN DENIED HER RIGHT TO LOVE AND NURTURE HER CHILD. Instead of getting to see her son grow up into an independent adult, she has been tirelessly fighting to secure her son’s release. Too often, the impact of mass incarceration on loved ones gets ignored. IN THIS FIGHT TO FREE DONTAE, WE MUST HONOR AND CENTER THE LABOR AND LOVE SHOWN BY DONTAE’S MOM.
WATCH MS. SARAH, DONTAE’S MOTHER, TALK ABOUT HER FIGHT TO FREE HER SON IN THIS VIDEO, THEN SIGN OUR PETITION TODAY!
Let’s create a huge groundswell of support and pressure North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, NC Attorney General Josh Stein, and District Attorney Kimberly Robb to act for Dontae. IT IS TIME FOR NORTH CAROLINA’S POLITICAL LEADERSHIP TO FINALLY INTERVENE IN THIS GROSS MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE.
LISTEN TO MS. SARAH’S WORDS IN THIS VIDEO, AND THEN SIGN TO DEMAND NC OFFICIALS REUNITE DONTAE WITH HIS FAMILY.
Until justice is real,
Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Erika, Enchanta, Clarise, Marybeth, Leonard, Siera, Anay, Kristen, Marena, Tamar and the rest of the Color Of Change team
1. “Dontae Sharpe did not kill George Radcliffe.” Slate.com. 22 May 2017.
2. “Lawyers: New evidence in case to free Dontae Sharpe.” WITN.com. 28 June 2018.