Hawks’ Pierce to match up to $15,000 to Georgia Innocence Project

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce during an interview at State Farm Arena, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce and his wife, Melissa, will match up to $15,000 in donations to the Georgia Innocence Project made Friday, which marks Wrongful Conviction Day.

The Georgia Innocence Project (GIP) is an independent nonprofit organization that works to correct and prevent wrongful convictions in Georgia. Wrongful Conviction Day is an annual international observance dedicated to ending wrongful convictions and highlighting those convicted of crimes they did not commit. According the organization, it is estimated that 5% of people in prison are innocent of the the crimes they are imprisoned for. That would mean more than 2,000 people in Georgia.

ExploreHow Lloyd Pierce is leading NBA coaches in fight for racial justice

“With the current climate in our country, we felt compelled to grow our partnership with GIP,” the Pierces said in a statement. “In the midst of this pandemic, the need to intelligently pursue criminal justice reform and address mass incarceration issues is urgent. The incredible level of passion, expertise and dedication to serving those wrongfully convicted independent of their personal resources and intense pursuit of justice for all makes us proud to play any role we can in bringing awareness to their work.”

Pierce hosted exonerees and their family members at multiple Hawks game last season. He will appear alongside Jimmie C. Gardner, a GIP board member who was wrongfully convicted for 27 years, and Melissa Redmon, the Director of UGA School of Law’s Prosecutorial Justice Program, at 4 p.m. Friday during a Wrongful Conviction Day livestream entitled “Race & Wrongful Conviction: Moving from Outrage to Action.”

In Other News