National Action Network and the NAACP Make Statements About Michael Dunn Verdict
Saturday evening a jury in Jacksonville, Florida returned a verdict in the case of Michael David Dunn who was accused of killing 16-year-old Jordan Russell Davis because he (Davis) was playing his music too loud in his car as far as Dunn was concerned.
Dunn was convicted on 4 counts of attempted murder, but on the primary count of murder, first degree, the jury declared a mistrial. Below is the response from the National Action Network, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and various NAACP officials.
Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network:
“We are deeply disappointed by the verdict in the case of Michael Dunn. Though he was convicted for attempted murder and shooting into the car, the value of Jordan Davis’ life was not addressed in this verdict. The mistrial further sends a chilling effect to parents in the twenty-three states that have the Stand Your Ground law or laws similar. It requires the Civil Rights community to head into Florida, which is now ground zero for a National fight to change that law. From Trayvon Martin to Jordan Davis enough is enough. Our National board member Bishop Rudy Mckissick has been in the court room during the trial, including tonight representing us and supporting the family; sharing with them our prayers as we join them in pursuing justice and the ending the Stand Your Ground law.”
Statement of Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.:
“The shooting of seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis marked yet another tragic and senseless death of an unarmed, innocent, African-American teenager. Rather than seeing Jordan or his friends for what they were — ordinary teenagers — Mr. Dunn saw a threat and recklessly acted with lethal force.
“We will never know exactly what Mr. Dunn was thinking when he fired nine rounds at Jordan and his friends, but we have some very strong clues. We know that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law emboldens people to take matters into their own hands and use deadly force, despite the absence of a threat, let alone a weapon. We know that letters he wrote from jail while awaiting trial provide insight about his thoughts on race and who he perceived to be a criminal. In one, he mentioned that “This jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs.” He went on to write: “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.” Finally, we know that the criminalization and demonization of African-Americans -and especially African-American men and boys- is deeply rooted in our nation’s history.