*On November 23, 2012 Jordan Davis an African–American teenager and Jacksonville Florida high school student, was shot and killed while sitting in a car with three of his friends at a Jacksonville gas station.
Michael Dunn a 47–year -old Caucasian American demanded that Davis and his friends music be turned off which was being played loudly in an SUV next to Dunn’s car before firing the shots that killed Davis.
Immediately after the shooting, instead of calling police or driving to a police station, Dunn and his girlfriend, Rhonda Rouer, drove 40 miles south to St. Augustine, where they had reservations at a bed and breakfast. Once there, Dunn ordered pizza, “took his dog for a walk,” ordered a movie and drinks. The next morning, the couple packed their bags and drove 130 miles to Satellite Beach, where Dunn was finally apprehended and charged with one count of first degree murder and three counts of attempted second-degree murder. Dunn pleaded not guilty and used Florida’s controversial stand your ground law. He claimed self-defense and said he saw a weapon in the teen’s car, even though police did not find a gun in the vehicle.
After days of deliberations a Florida jury reached a decision over the weekend in the Dunn murder trial. Jurors deadlocked on whether Dunn murdered Davis or shot him in self-defense. Judge Russell Healey declared a mistrial on the murder charge. Jurors did convict Dunn of the second-degree attempted murders of Davis’s three friends Tevin Thompson, Leland Brunson and Tommie Stornes. Which means he faces a potential 105 years in prison on the four convictions, and under Florida’s minimum mandatory laws must be sentenced to at least 60 years. This is essentially a life sentence at his age.
But as far as I’m concerned that jury verdict was yet another slap in the face to Black Americans where our lives continue to be devalued by non African–Americans and the criminal justice system. How could the jury not convict Dunn of Davis’ murder? I tell you how. Dunn was able to get away with the murder of Davis not because he was afraid of him and his friends but because he’s a southern racist murderer.
The American criminal justice system in the south protects that type of murdering racists. One of the first lessons in American history in the south and its culture is that the lives of White Americans are precious and valuable. Black people lives will never be as important as white lives down south .White people have been killing Black people in the South and getting away with it by white majority juries for decades. Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Trayvon Martin, and now Jordan Davis are just a few examples.
Dunn’s mistake was not killing them all. He would have walked, that White majority jury would have made sure of that. The “Stand your ground law” is the new Jim Crow and the most racist law in America. That jury verdict sends a loud and clear message that No minority youth is safe in that state. Stand your ground laws are nothing but the new Jim Crow. And White Americans needs to acknowledge the problem. And if you’re an African American who doesn’t know who Michael Dunn is, but can tell anyone how many points LeBron scored. Beyonce’s latest single or what’s going on with Kevin Hart, Denzel, and Oprah you’re part of our problem also.
It’s clear that Black leadership and our community needs to have a march on Tallahassee the state capitol of Florida and demand an end to these racist stand your ground laws which is nothing but a permission slip to kill Blacks and get away with it.
Activist and author of “Raising Hell: A Life of Activism”