It’s been apparent for quite some time that the system used to select jurors in this country is broken and needs overhauling. In Florida, especially, it seems that whenever it’s time to determine the fate of a non-black person who has murdered a black teenager in cold blood, jurors, who tend to resemble the murderer rather than the victim, are loathe to secure justice for the victim. One disgusted Florida resident was firm in his assessment: “Our legal system is now complicated therefore we need people with the intellectual capability to digest that… I think all aspects of our legal system is broken,” he stated.
The latest jury to toe the line and preserve the status quo is the Jacksonville jury which declined to find Michael Dunn guilty of first degree murder in the killing of teenager Jordan Davis this past Saturday. The jury chose instead to find Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted murder and one count of discharging a missile after he fired ten shots into the vehicle carrying the teens as they listened to rap music. Proclaiming themselves “deadlocked” on the top charge, the jury convicted Dunn on the four lesser charges, making him eligible for up to 60 years in jail. The judge declared a mistrial on the murder charge, due to the jury’s failure to do its job and render a verdict for Jordan Davis, who was a 17-year-old teen, out with his friends,when he was mercilessly gunned down by the heartless Dunn.
“We are so happy to have a little bit of closure,” a tearful Lucia McBath, Davis’ mother, said after the split verdict was delivered, one day before the slain teen would have celebrated his 19th birthday. “We will continue to stand and we will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.”
The jury was deadlocked on the top count of murder, albeit finding the perpetrator guilty of attempted murder and discharging a missile. So in essence, the jury decided that while Dunn shot and killed Jordan and fired a fusillade of bullets into the jeep carrying his friends, they could not find common ground on the charge that the death was intentional and the teen was unarmed, even though the police found no weapon and the other teens insisted that no one was armed other than the murderer. Naturally, Dunn’s lawyer has been making the media rounds, telling all who will listen that he will appeal the verdict and seek justice for his client.
Black boys are being murdered in record numbers across the country and in Florida, especially, it seems as if their basic existence comes with enormous risks. While the Florida prosecutor has indicated that Dunn will be retried on the top murder charge, its attorney general Angela Corey, leaves a lot to be desired with her selective prosecution and unbalanced enthusiasm when prosecuting cases. Take the unbridled venom she demonstrated in personally going after Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot after being assaulted by her abusive husband.
The conviction was overturned on a technicality but Corey was quick to state that she will try Alexander again, determined to lock her up although no murder was committed and no one was harmed. Corey’s prosecution of Alexander was relentless and her planned retrial of the Florida mother is unseemly. But for some reason, Corey did not deem it necessary to personally prosecute George Zimmerman for murdering Trayvon Martin, leaving that up to her inept team. Similarly, in the Dunn case, Corey popped up only after the split verdict to state, with no sense of urgency or passion, that Dunn would be retried on the top count.
For the duration of the Dunn trial, no mention was made of the stark fact that Dunn pre-judged Davis and his friends, shooting up their vehicle in anger because they, black teenagers, whom he described as “thugs,” dared to enjoy the music of their choice. Somehow, the racial motivation was not deemed important to the Florida prosecutors. Dunn and his girlfriend calmly returned to their lodging after the brutal murder, ordering pizza and enjoying themselves, without deigning to call 911.
During his testimony Dunn showed emotion when he talked about his girlfriend and his dog but he was expressionless when he talked about his dastardly execution of Davis. Such heartless disregard for a teenaged life is grossly appalling. It is even more troubling that the trial seemed focused on the prosecutors trying to explain that Davis was a “good boy,” as if Davis was on trial, instead of the murderous Dunn.
After the verdict was announced, Ron Davis, the victim’s father, chose his words carefully. “We were good parents to Jordan. He was a good kid,” he said. By all accounts, the teen certainly was a good adolescent, on the cusp of adulthood. But that did not matter in a society where Stand Your Ground Laws empower bigots to shoot and kill innocent black boys without provocation and then craft what is perceived as a perfect alibi: claiming that they feared for their lives, that they were being threatened or attacked.
Not only does the Stand Your Ground law that exists in Florida and other southern states need to be struck down, it is imperative that jurors, particularly those in Florida who seem to have difficulties getting it right, be better versed on the nuances on examining evidence through the prism of reality instead of being blinded by race. This siege that has enveloped the survival of black boys needs to be fought as aggressively.
Murderers fight to walk free when they kill innocent children and young adults for no other reason than the victims are black. These killers feel that they have a right to kill because black lives, in their minds, lack value. The fight continues for justice for Davis, and other innocent black boys whose lives were snuffed out too soon. Parents, activists and concerned citizens across the globe need to stand up and say: enough!–OnPointPress.net.
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