Rev. Al Sharpton in Greenville, pleas for Dontae Sharpe's release

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Reverend Al Sharpton was in Greenville Monday night speaking alongside other local civil rights leaders and activists at the Phillipi Church of Christ, demanding the release of Dontae Sharpe from prison.

Sharpe was imprisoned back in 1995 on a murder charge, but has always maintained his innocence, even denying plea deals that would have set him free years ago.

Now some two decades later, groups including the North Carolina and National NAACP are calling for an independent investigation in the case and demanding Sharpe be set free immediately.

That cause is what brought Al Sharpton to the forefront of this battle.

"When they laid out the case to me, I was compelled to come and that's when I said to Reverend Barber, 'I will absolutely come because this is as bad as it gets,'" Sharpton says.

During the event, Sharpton and Barber both donated more than $1,000 each to Sharpe's family and encouraged others to give in a donation from the public.