Tuesday, January 18

Nation Reacts to Jordan Davis Verdict

Another shooting of an unarmed black teen has gripped the attention of the African American community. 

Jordan Davis, 19, was killed by a 45-year-old white man, Michael Dunn, on November 23, 2012. Dunn shot and killed Davis and injured three of his friends following an altercation regarding of the loud hip-hop music the teens were playing in their vehicle at a gas station.  Dunn fired a total of nine shots into the vehicle.  

Using Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground Law” as a defense, he said he only fired at the vehicle after he saw a gun.  Witnesses, however, say the teens never had a gun, and no weapon was ever found.  Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder, and another weapons-related charge.  He faces up to 75 years in prison on these counts. The jury, however, could not reach a consensus on whether or not Dunn was guilty of the murder of Davis. 

This led to a mistrial on the homicide charge.  The verdict comes months after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, another unarmed teen, just outside of Orlando, Florida.  The verdict drew strong reaction from many people on Twitter, including many African Americans.

Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and host of a show on MSNBC, said laws must changed to end these incidents.  “We must end stand your ground laws in 23 states.  Florida is ground zero to change these,” he said.   The verdict also resulted in the creation of a hashtag highlighting the stereotyping of young black men. 

Many people used the hashtag #dangerousblackkids to mock the idea that African American teens are predators.  

Tweets using this hashtag showed black children in positive settings, including spending time with their families.  Interestingly, the verdict did not seem to spark interest among Lincoln University students.   

What are your thoughts about the Davis verdict?  Are young African American men being unjustly treated by the criminal justice system? 

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