Jordan Davis’ killer Michael Dunn
Tonight in Florida, the trial of Michael Dunn for shooting and killing unarmed 17-year old Jordan Davis resulted in a hung jury on the count of first-degree murder.
Although we are pleased with the guilty verdicts on the lesser charges of attempted murder and shooting a deadly missile, a mistrial on the most significant count of first-degree murder is outrageous.
Once again a young Black man was made the target of a horribly violent act and his killer was able to shield himself through Florida’s dangerous “Stand Your Ground”, or “Shoot First” Laws. This is clearly a continuation of the injustice we saw with Trayvon Martin, and it will only stop if we stand up now.
We demand a retrial, and strongly urge Attorney General Eric Holder to bring justice in this case and investigate how “Shoot First” laws shield those who commit hate crimes.
All Jordan Davis was guilty of on that fateful night in Jacksonville, Florida was being a young Black man. But he was nothing more than a “thug” to Michael Dunn, whose hateful motivations are on full display in a letter from prison that went public during the trial. In it he rants, “The jail is full of Blacks and they all act like thugs. This may sound a bit radical, but if more people would arm themselves and kill these (expletive) idiots when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.”
All too often, young Black men across this country are the targets of violence, a tragic fact fueled by stereotypical media portrayals that create inaccurate perceptions of Black men and boys. “Shoot First” laws then shield dangerous men like Michael Dunn from prosecution when they act on their biases and commit heinous crimes such as this one.
Despite this travesty of justice, we should continue to support Jordan’s family during this crisis, and keep pushing for a just outcome to this tragedy. There must be a retrial and the Department of Justice must investigate how ‘Shoot First’ laws shield people like Michael Dunn who commit hate crimes.
ColorOfChange is committed to repealing all “Shoot First” laws, which endanger the lives of Black people across the nation. And we will continue to work towards a media landscape that presents fair and humanizing depictions of Black people.
Nearly 111,000 of our members have taken action in our campaigns demanding justice for Black victims like Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, and we will continue to fight for them and many others.
Rashad Robinson is Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org
With over 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.