By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
Outraged community responds to death of teenager
(FinalCall.com) – The family 17-year-old Jordan Davis laid his body in its final resting place Dec. 1. But amid their pain, their journey for justice began as his killer invoked Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground Law” for the shooting.
The law allows Floridians to use deadly force if they feel threatened.
Michael Dunn, who is White, is charged with second degree murder and attempted murder for the Nov. 23 shooting that left Jordan Davis, who is Black, dead allegedly over loud music.
According to police, Mr. Davis and three other teens were sitting in an SUV at the Gate gas station in Jacksonville when 45-year-old Mr. Dunn complained about their loud music. Police say an argument ensued and in the end, Mr. Dunn fired at least eight bullets into the teens’ vehicle. He then fled the scene with his girlfriend without notifying police.
Mr. Dunn claims he saw a shotgun in the teens’ vehicle and felt threatened, according to his attorney. Jacksonville sheriffs said the teens were unarmed.
Community activists charge the shooting was rooted in pure racism. And as the story gained national media attention, many were reeling over what they called a clear cut shooting borne out of hatred and vigilantism.
“We believe that the climate of White supremacy is growing by the day. After the election of President Obama, there’s the angry White male syndrome,” said Mikhail Muhammad, minister of community activism for the New Black Panther Party chapter in Jacksonville.
“There’s fear of the Black man and since can’t reach Obama but they can reach us, our children are being targeted by these White supremacists,” he told The Final Call.
While Mr. Dunn pled not guilty to murder on Nov. 28 when he invoked Stand Your Ground, activists also argue the fact he fled Jacksonville suggests otherwise.
“It’s amazing the euphemisms White people use for murdering a child in cold blood as a hate crime. It’s nothing more and nothing less than full-fledged racism. This man had it in his mind, just as George Zimmerman did, and has been nursing the desire for some time to kill a Black man,” said Dr. Ava Muhammad, an attorney and student minister for the Nation of Islam.
Mr. Zimmerman faces a tentative second degree murder trial on June 10, 2013 for the shooting of Black teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., on February 26, 2012.
Both fatal encounters were racially motivated and the killers were the aggressors, Dr. Muhammad noted. Experiencing loud music from a nearby car is no justification for approaching a car and firing into it, she said. She added, the shooting wasn’t extrajudicial–outside the realm of the law–but it was outside the realm of reason and insanity.
“Once again, it reinforces what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and now Min. Louis Farrakhan have never stopped saying, there’s only one solution. The best and only solution is separation,” Dr. Muhammad said.
Meanwhile, community activists are mobilizing people to demand Mr. Dunn’s girlfriend be arrested and charged as an accessory, Mikhail Muhammad said.
No further information was being released in the ongoing investigation, a spokesperson for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told The Final Call in response to a request for an update and interview.
However, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Homicide Lt. Rob Schoonover indicated during a Nov. 26 press conference that Mr. Dunn’s girlfriend will not face charges. He told reporters he didn’t have her identity but then said she was cooperating with police. “She had no part in this,” Lt. Schoonover said.
“We demand she be arrested and charged! … They have been very quiet about this woman and have revealed no identity but amazingly, they have revealed the young men’s identity even though they were involved in no crime,” Mikhail Muhammad insisted.
Several silent protests and vigils have been held since the shooting. Mr. Davis’ classmates stopped working and held a prayer vigil at Wolfson High School, where he attended, according to James Muhammad, a local activist. Family lawyers led a campaign for residents to turn their music up loud as a local radio station played the song “Strawberry Letter 23.” The song was picked by the late teen’s family, one attorney explained.
“The words are very special. The song is very special. It’s a song about love and rainbows. It’s one of those old 70’s songs where everybody just loved each other more and that’s where we are. You’ve got people reacting without acting. You’ve got people on instant gratification and that’s not the way things used to be,” Attorney John Phillips told First Coast News in Jacksonville.
“It’s been characterized, loud music, as a teenage thing or a Black-White thing. I’m 37-years-old. Got grey in my beard and when I’m driving around and hear a song that I like, I turn it up,” Atty. Phillips added.
On Dec. 3, at Final Call press time a door-to-door campaign to teach lessons about conflict resolution and de-escalating hostile situations was planned, according to James Muhammad, who is also a member of the Nation of Islam.
“We want justice in this case … People are mobilizing to get the courtrooms for hearings. We are spending time out on the streets, talking to young men on not just what to do when you’re approached by police, but what to do when you’re approached by strangers,” he said.
When Blacks stand their ground (FCN, 05-30-2012)
Black legal experts weigh in on Zimmerman case (FCN, 04-29-2012)
Zimmerman Charged: Second Degree Murder in Trayvon Martin case (FCN, 04-17-2012)