Hundreds marched in Downtown Memphis demanding criminal justice reform

Published: Mar. 25, 2018 at 1:43 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2018 at 6:16 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Hundreds marched down Main Street on Saturday evening, demanding change to the justice system.

Many had their lives dramatically affected by the law.

"This is my father Raymond. He was convicted of murder and did 25 years for a crime he did not commit. He just came home in 2017," Jody Tempest from Rhode Island said.

With passion and energy, people came in from all over the country for the annual Innocence Network conference.

"Our justice system is not fair. It does not work for the people," Jody said.

"This is a start right here, with the Innocence Network and this march here today," Raymond Tempest said.

The march ended with a rally at the steps of the Lorraine Motel, where incredible stories from exonerees like Kurt Bloodsworth--the first man to have his death sentence overturned after being wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a 9-year-old.

"One of the loneliest moments I have ever experienced, when the gavel came down on my life, the courtroom erupted in applause. 'Give him the gas and kill his (expletive),'" Bloodsworth said.

DNA evidence proved Bloodsworth's innocence but the Innocence Network speakers say thousands of other innocent people still sit in jail.

"I served my country as a Marine. I am still waiting for the country to serve us," Bloodsworth said.

With Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King as inspiration, these people are all demanding reform to the justice system.

"The fight continues. That's what Dr. King wanted. What we see right here is what he fought for and those fought with him stood for," a speaker at the conference said.

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