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I have sat in front of my laptop contemplating this article about the cold blooded murder of Jordan Davis and subsequent trial which resulted Saturday 15th November in a mistrial on first degree murder charges of Michael Dunn, his killer. It is mind boggling to me that the jury in finding Dunn guilty of attempted murder, somehow thought he was guilty of trying to murder Jordan’s friends, but did not murder Davis.

The verdict is as schizophrenic as the pathology that allows that black boys are a danger to society even as they repeatedly fall victim to the very society which claims to be afraid of them.

I remember watching news of the cold blooded killing of Trayvon Martin and thinking, as I’m sure did many other African American families “god forbid this could be any one of my young relatives, or children of friends”. For Ron Davis, Jordan Russell Davis’ father, tragically, that day did come, merely months after Ron Davis had remarked on how much his son resembled Trayvon Martin when Jordan Davis had donned a hoodie.

On yet another occasion, the killer of a black child goes unpunished. Yet one more time, justice has been denied to the family of a murdered black child, like Trayvon Martin before him, like Emmett Till decades before him. Michael Dunn showed no remorse whatsoever in the killing of a mere child, whose only crime surely was nothing more than that this black child’s very existence in his presence was an affront to Michael Dunn.

We could debate the demerits of the case including whether or not Michael Dunn truly feared for his life, or whether the “thug music” annoyed him, indeed whether he needed to shoot 10 times into a carful of children, but all these details, as lacking in justification as they are, really truly do not address the real issue here. Even the infamous stand your ground law that has been so oft discussed in this case as in Trayvon Martin’s case, really doesn’t address the heart of the matter.

Since Trayvon Martin was killed, there has been three additional publicized gun killings of young blacks, at their prime by whites including Jonathan Ferrell who was fatally shot 10 times by a police officer in Charlotte, N.C. as he sought help after an accident. There was the shooting death of Renisha McBride in Detroit, in an eerily similar case, again, when she sought help after an accident.  There was also the shooting death of 20 year old Bo Morrison on Mar 3rd 2012, by Adam Kind, the white neighbor of the house where Bo had attended a party.

While all these killings are shocking, can they surely be considered surprising? George Zimmerman like Michael Dunn not only showed no remorse, but both men displayed righteous indignation and even celebrated their acts, as what they surely clearly saw as ridding the world of the vermin of black menace. How else can these callous killings be viewed?

Bo Morrison’s killer was spared charges under Wisconsin’s castle doctrine, a version of Florida’s stand your ground law. It was only this last January 27th that the officer who shot Jonathan Ferrell was indicted for the killing after a grand jury had initially refused to even charge him even with voluntary manslaughter.

Juxtapose the above killings with the fatal Florida movie theatre shooting death of 43 yr old Chad Oulson, a white man who was shot by also white retired police officer, Curtis Reeves. Chad Oulson, rightly or wrongly is alleged to have grabbed Reeves’ popcorn bag and thrown it at him, upon which Reeves responded in what he alleges was self-defense. Curtis Reeves was charged right away, and news coverage was immediately humanizing of Chad Oulson. Judge Lynn Tepper refused to grant bond to Reeves, emotionally stating that “the evidence of guilt is significant”

In all the killings of the black youth, the conduct of the black children was repeatedly scrutinized and put on trial in the court of public opinion and by analysts in the media. The judge in the Zimmerman case asserted that there was no evidence of ill will on the part of Zimmerman.

What is most shocking in all the killings of the black children is that not only do the killers display no remorse, but that there are racial divisions in the outrage and empathy towards these children’s’ families shown by the public over their killings. In fact, George Zimmerman had white supporters who raised considerable amounts of money for his defense.

It is shocking and disturbing to me that presumably otherwise reasonable folk see no reason to even indict in so many of these cases, and it is shocking that juries somehow find nuance in these cases that are otherwise so clear cut to the majority of black folk.
It is shocking that otherwise seemingly reasonable analysts go on TV and discuss without any irony, the merits of usually older, bigger, armed white men finding black boys and girls threatening enough to draw their weapons and shoot.

I have not seen any case about black men shooting to death innocent white men and women merely because they find their presence threatening, and yet, the irony of white folk fearing black folk seems to be completely lost.

Throughout the history of this country, black men have been beaten, lynched and shot to death by white folk, with no consequence to the whites involved. Yet, it appears that so much of the public apparently seems to consider it reasonable to view black men as menacing and threatening, either because of their attire, and now apparently the music we listen to, or merely our presence.

I am a grad school educated columnist and professional, and yet, I have been stopped repeatedly by cops while driving and even while riding my bike, for no apparent reason other than that I am a black man. Twice I got tickets for riding my bike on a Brooklyn sidewalk, once I was stopped while driving because the officer wanted to make sure I had my seatbelt on, which I did. On another occasion, I was stopped for apparently driving too slowly in a Washington DC neighborhood, where I was told there was rampant drug use.

These experiences are not unique to me and when I went to court to fight the tickets, I was shocked by how full the courtroom was with young black boys, apparently answering similarly mundane charges of trespassing, riding bikes on sidewalks, public urination etc etc.

Stand your ground is an egregious law that grants killers with extra protection in the rampant gun culture that is the United States, and these laws must be reversed. However, these egregious laws cannot explain the impunity with which young black men are gunned down, whether it be by white men, police, or even in the handgun black on black violence of cities such as my new home city of Chicago.

What all these gun killings are an indictment of is rather, the view of the black male as less than deserving of the protection of equal justice under the law. What is on trial in all these cases, is the racist exclusion particularly of young black boys, but also black girls as in the case of Renisha McBride, from what is considered as normal society. Black men in particular face higher unemployment rates in what is a systematic exclusion from economic participation.

This systematic exclusion from what is considered normal American society exists in red states as in blue states, under conservative jurisdictions as in democratic jurisdictions. We live in segregated neighborhoods throughout the United States, from New York to LA, Seattle to Miami and our children attend schools that have only seen a 0.54% increase in integration since the landmark ruling of Brown vs. the board of education which outlawed the legal segregation of schools, over 60 years ago.

Until black boys and black girls can be seen as full human beings in America, stand your ground laws  or not, unfortunately, we can only sit with bated breath, in fear of when we will read yet again of another innocent black life lost to an extra judicial killing, because their very presence caused affront to an armed white person in their vicinity.

Originally posted to karanja on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 10:10 PM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Agreed.....He Is A Smug Little Murderer (6+ / 0-)

    But, I thought the jury found him guilty on 3 other charges.  I also heard he could spend 30 years in prison.  Has that changed?  

    I'm sure there will be an appeal....this could stretch out for years.  In the meantime, Michael Dunn isn't going anywhere, nor should he.  

    George Zimmerman now says he's homeless, has PTSD & is getting death threats.  I don't feel an ounce of pity.  

  •  105 years (7+ / 0-)

    Is the max sentence for all his convictions, 60-75 is the minimum. He's never going to be a free man.

    I hope that on retrial he is convicted of murder, but like Jordan's parents, I am relieved for small mercies today.

  •  My point is that anything less than 1st degree (13+ / 0-)

    is an injustice and it is a scary country in which anyone can find any nuance in this case. It was not nuanced... It is scary because he could clearly be cleared on appeal, as long as so many people exist who are so quick to grant such excessive benefit of the doubt to white men, and almost no doubt ever to black boys... How does it make sense that he was guilty of attempted murder of the children he didn't manage to kill, but they were not able to convict for the child he actually killed. Were this an all white jury, would he have been guilty of any of these charges? If on appeal he gets an all white jury, does he walk?

    Sept 2011 - How Obama got his groove back! I'm super charged, Fired Up and Ready to go!

    by karanja on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 10:58:12 PM PST

    •  Dunn Still Innocent of the Death Of Jordan Davis (14+ / 0-)

      This jury hung on the issue of Michael Dunn having any degree of guilt for the death of Jordan Davis. He is still innocent.

      There happened to be three other black kids whom Michael Dunn also tried to kill, but he missed what, six seven shots at them? So he was found guilty of attempted murder against these kids.

      I guess they don't like it in Florida when you shoot at thugs {code} and miss.

      Had Dunn got off a few quick accurate shots and killed the other three as well I guess he'd have gotten a mistrial there as well. Needs some more time on the firing range.

      I don't care if Michael Dunn lives and serves a hundred years in prison for other stuff. The mistrial on the murder of Jordan Davis is a grievous wound to the soul of our nation.

    •  HUNG ON SEVERITY NOT GUILT. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, erush1345

      It's pretty simple. I'll paint you the picture.

      Twelve people all agree his actions amounted to second degree attempted murder of the three uninjured.

      About the one victim, some of the jury can agree that his actions amount to completed second degree murder, while some can demand that it was first degree murder and refuse to accept anything less.

      That is how you can get a jury where EVERYONE believes the guy is guilty but still end up deadlocked and cause a mistrial.

      Deadlock on severity rather than guilt.

      It's the planning element that is the fundamental difference between first and second degree murder. Some folks consider the two second walk to a glove box to be enough time to plan. Other folks can't come up with a plan if you give them three days and all the energy drinks they want.

  •  Interesting. (7+ / 0-)

    Also, I believe the election of President Obama along with the popularity of hate radio and bizarre news sources such as FOX have amplified the behavior.

    The hate has risen to the surface in ways I thought no longer possible. I grew up is Louisiana in the late 50s early 60s. I thought I had seen it all. No so.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:20:24 PM PST

  •  I have such mixed feelings on this (3+ / 0-)

    I sense and understand the rage and fury.   It is, without a doubt to me murder.   This was, to everything I believe, cold blooded murder.

    But as I look over the way the statute is written in Florida, I understand why at least one juror struggled to sign off.

    I think sometimes we blame juries and sometimes they deserve it.  It is the result of having juries.   There are other times, though, where I think Juries are in a bad situation.  Where thanks to the twisting of the law over years, getting a conviction in a case where the attorney on the other side has any salt can be hard - as it should be - but confusing, which it shouldn't be.

    This situation creates two sets of justice: the justice for people who have the means to cover counsel of great quality, and those who cannot.

    I'm glad he's going to prison for a very long, long time.   I'm unhappy with the verdict.   But I'm not sure I'm ready to rail at the jurors because I don't know there reasoning.   It could be terrible reasoning.  Or it could simply be the belief that the way the law is written they were hemmed in.

    I don't know.

    But I will root for him to have decades to think over what happened that night.   Because his getting nothing on the one case will be no comfort from the visions in his head as he sleeps, where he will remember the events of that night as long as he stays in that cell.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:38:06 PM PST

  •  Thank you. (9+ / 0-)

    No Justice - no peace

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:49:20 AM PST

  •  Isn't Florida the home of StormFront? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez


    •  Don't think so (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moviemeister76, a2nite, rubyr

      according to wiki

      Stormfront began in 1990 as an online bulletin board for white nationalist activist David Duke's campaign for United States Senator of Louisiana. The name "Stormfront" was chosen for its connotations of a political or military front and an analogy with weather fronts that invokes the idea of a tumultuous storm ending in cleansing. It was opened to the public in 1994, and the website was founded in 1995, becoming the first website associated with white supremacy. Until this point, attempts at using the Internet for the white pride movement met with limited success,[9] but Stormfront quickly began to become popular with the growth of the Internet at this time, according to owner Don Black. A former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and in the 1970s a member of the National Socialist White People's Party, Black first received computer training while imprisoned for his role in an abortive 1981 attempt to overthrow the government of Dominica.

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:48:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keep in mind that the jury was deadlocked (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight, erush1345

    on the charge of first degree murder. Going for first degree was a gamble for the prosecutors. It is a much higher bar, involving state of mind and intent, than second degree. Second degree murder is still murder, and had they chosen to prosecute he Davis murder inthe second degree, the resultant verdict may have been different.

    •  The jury had that option (7+ / 0-)

      The jury had the option to drop it all the way to manslaughter on the first count.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:42:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The hung jury could have resulted from 1 juror (6+ / 0-)

        refusing to drop the charges down to second-degree, and holding out for first-degree. We don't know. I hope we find out, soon.

        And I hope he is convicted at least of second-degree murder, in the second trial.

        •  We shall see (3+ / 0-)

          Considering the fact I've had several white folks on my Facebook wall who thought he was innocent of the first charge but guilty on all the others, I suspect it also likely that at least one jurist thought he was genuinely afraid for his life and refused to budge on the first count.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:48:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm hoping that was the case (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight, Pinto Pony

          When you're shooting at a car with multiple people inside, how can you convict of attempted murder and not murder?

          I'm glad Corey is opting to retry Dunn on the murder charge.  Dunn will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, but this falls into the realm of behavior that society cannot even appear to tolerate.

          "Leave us alone!" -Mike Capuano

          by Christian Dem in NC on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:16:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for saying this. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

        by rubyr on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:45:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I feel like a broken record (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          lol. Think I made the same comment at least three or four times.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:48:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Me too, so I was very relieved to see your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moviemeister76, a2nite

            comment. It's a basic misconception that has gone viral. Whole diaries are being written around the notion that charging first degree is the reason for the outcome and there were no other options. Dunno.

            "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

            by rubyr on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:26:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's probably easier for some to believe that the charge was too high than to believe that even a single juror believed him completely innocent on the first charge.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:59:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I have come to the conclusion that white folk no (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chrisculpepper, rubyr

              Matter their political conviction have difficulty in admitting that not just the murderer but the jurors too might be racist. Believing that would lead to the conclusion that society as a whole is generally racist and that is an awful reality so denial is easier. There are very clear divisions between the views of black people and white people (i.e. The oppressed and the oppressor) black people generally view whites as mostly irredeemably and unreasonably racist. The behavior i.e. The general exclusion of blacks from what is conspired normal, the segregation that happens in liberal as in conservative cities would suggest that the view of American society as generally racist bears out. But that's a terrible reality to admit. It's easier to rationalize with endless reasonable pontification and when all else fails to attack the likes of me as irrational and emotional and this dismiss me. However I say all this not merely to indict American society as a whole but rather because it is a hopeless project to reduce racism if society isn't even willing to admit that racism is ever behind any specific incident. I get this with all my discussions whereby all Americans are generally willing to admit racism is alive in USA but seem completely incapable of seeing the extent and evidence of it almost never when it comes to any specific incident. Schizophrenic. But... As a member of the minority my views will always easily be torn apart and dismissed and I'm fed up of playing nicey nicey or sugar coat with pretend measured calm responses to the continued murder of black children

              Sept 2011 - How Obama got his groove back! I'm super charged, Fired Up and Ready to go!

              by karanja on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:01:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Please don't give up on all of us white idiots: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The oppressed and the oppressor) black people generally view whites as mostly irredeemably and unreasonably racist.
                Many whites care deeply about racism and the prevention of it and, especially, the need to protect young black men. We really do. There is no way that we can know your pain, that is not possible, but there are those of us who do care, in my case to the point of it making me insane at times.

                This is a very amazing article, if you haven't seen it:


                Do you ever visit Black Kos--Tuesdays and Fridays at a little after 4 (EST)? There are a lot of white people in there that care.
                Also, the most loving, educational, fun and accepting community on Daily Kos, IMHO.

                I MISS CACTUSGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                by rubyr on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:04:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Gah (0+ / 0-)

                I somehow missed your comment. I think you're definitely right. It's amazing to me how so many folks here and elsewhere were completely confused by the hung jury, and were absolutely adamant that it was a result of someone refusing to drop the charge below first degree murder. Of course, implicit in that statement, was that it was the two black women who likely did this, making it the fault of the black women in the first place. When I saw folks making that argument, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, as if they lived in a completely different world from me.

                Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                by moviemeister76 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:36:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Well written thank you (5+ / 0-)

    Let's not only talk about the travails of African American teens/children, but also grown up adult folks of African extraction.
    Recently during the chrismass holiday, in a large city in Rick Perry's Tx, a black guy, a medical professional had parked his brand new gleaming BMW in the medical complex lot.
    He then returned to pick up his car but noticed the back tire was flat courtesy of a nail.
    He started to change the tire but was accosted by the cops (2 white officers) who demanded hospital ID, which he had left in his office.
    He offered his drivers license which the cops ignored, accusing him of trying to steal car tires instead and they proceeded to cuff him.
    It took a call from the medical center Pres to release him.

    It' feels to me that Black folks worth have regressed to pre-reconstruction era, that of 3/4 of a full human.

    The Black in this country are being hunted down and shot like game just for the heck of it.

    I want to know why the jury hung on first degree charges. Was it ambiguous jury instructions?

    •  3/5 ths, but after reconstruction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      no right to vote, South came out ahead on that, and all things considered won the civil war and continues to.

    •  Your attempt to find rhyme of reason to this while (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It may soothe your soul, I'm afraid is futile. Jury instructions or not, white juries are known (by scientific research) to overwhelmingly deny justice to black folk... This verdict simply happened because of all the things I list in my article which surmise quite simply that generally American society considers blacks to be 3/4 human still. Quite simple.. This view of blacks as less than human is not confined to white folks because it has infected all of American society and it is internalized even by African Americans as well as other minorities and immigrants into this country.
      Your seeming measured and rational outlook may curry favor with your white friends but I'm afraid it will not shield you from the realities of racism ultimately...

      Sept 2011 - How Obama got his groove back! I'm super charged, Fired Up and Ready to go!

      by karanja on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:11:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's disgusting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On one hand sure it's good that he will serve alot of time.  On the hand there was no acknowledgement from the system that Dunn is cold blooded murderer.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:41:18 AM PST

  •  Dunn was convicted of 3 counts of attempted (0+ / 0-)

    murder, each of which carries a 15 year maximum sentence. He was also charged with firing into an occupied vehicle: 15 year sentence.
       The jury deadlocked on 2nd degree murder.
       Per news reports: The jury gave Dunn the benefit of the doubt, as the law requires. IOW, the way the law is in Florida, the state had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dunn did not believe that he saw a shotgun barrel protruding from the car window. The mistrial was on the 2nd degree murder charge, which under SYG is a very tough conviction.
       So, in the jury's point of view, the first seven shots may or may not have been justified.
       However, the shots he fired at the fleeing car obviously weren't, and the jury convicted him of one count of attempted murder for each of those shots.
       Florida has a 10 -20 -life law. 10 years for using a firearm in the commission of a crime. 20 years if the weapon is discharged.
       IIRC, the "use of a firearm" requires a finding by the jury but I may be wrong.
       Attempted 2nd degree murder without the firearm enhancement would be a maximum of 15 years on each count.
       Although the judge could sentence Dunn to serve the sentences consecutively, he probably won't. So Dunn is probably looking at a 15-20 year sentence and will probably be eligible for release in about nine years.
       It sounds to me that the jury assessed the case properly given the law that they had to work with. If Dunn is retried, the prosecution may well gain a conviction on the murder charge given the fact that Dunn initiated the confrontation and went for his gun unnecessarily.
       Although Dunn was not convicted, he is headed for prison. Better still, it is illegal for him to possess a firearm now that he is a convicted felon.

  •  Not justice denied; but justice delayed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For justice to have been denied, he would have had to have been found not guilty.  That is not what happened.  As to count 1, he's in the exact same position he was a month ago -- in jail, waiting on a trial -- only now worse, because he has those other convictions.

    He still may well be convicted of murder or perhaps -- if it turns out that the jury couldn't decide between first and second degree murder -- plead to second degree murder.  

    So it's justice delayed.  It's not justice denied.  

  •  Excellent diary!! Thank you. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:49:21 PM PST

  •  Thank you! Nt (0+ / 0-)

    Sept 2011 - How Obama got his groove back! I'm super charged, Fired Up and Ready to go!

    by karanja on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:16:57 PM PST

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