Michael Dunn Verdict Infuriates Black Social Media

For many, the mistrial on the most important charge, first-degree murder for the killing of Jordan Davis, gutted the entire verdict.

Florida residents protest the state’s “Stand your ground” laws in 2012.
Florida residents protest the state’s “Stand your ground” laws in 2012. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The jury verdict Saturday in the killing of Jordan Davis lit up the black blogosphere over the weekend, with comparisons to the plight of young black men and the “Stand Your Ground” case of Trayvon Martin, another slain, unarmed black Florida teenager who claimed national attention last year.

The “Democracy, Now!” radio and television show summarized the developments:

A Florida jury has convicted Michael Dunn of three counts of attempted murder for opening fire on a car of unarmed black teenagers during an argument over loud rap music at a gas station.

“But the jury deadlocked on the most serious charge, the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial on that count. Dunn, who is white, shot at the vehicle carrying Davis and his friends 10 times. He then fled the scene, went to a hotel with his girlfriend and ordered pizza. He never called the police. Citing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Dunn’s attorneys had claimed the shooting was justified because he had felt threatened by the teenagers.

“But prosecutors said the teenagers were unarmed and never left their vehicle. Legal analysts say Dunn could face at least 60 years in jail for the attempted murder convictions against the three other teens. The jury in the trial was 2/3 white and did not include any black males. The verdict was reached on Saturday, one day before what would have been Davis’ 19th birthday. . . . “

Jet magazine, which featured Davis on its cover in January 2013, issued this statement from Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller:

“JET Magazine has followed the Jordan Davis tragedy since the very beginning. With the verdict now in, we are relieved that some justice will be served. However, we are extremely disappointed that the jury was unable to convict Michael Dunn on all five of the charges.

“It is our hope that the retrial will occur, Michael Dunn will be found guilty of first-degree murder and a message will be sent to this country about the consequences of reckless indifference [toward] the lives of African Americans. At this time, we send our thoughts and prayers to the entire Davis family as they continue to seek closure on the untimely death of their only child.

“JET Magazine intends to continue to report these issues to our audience and bring awareness nationwide in hopes that our service will propel Americans to stand up for justice for all.”