Dec 07 2012

Florida Case of Murdered Black Teen, Jordan Davis, Has Echoes of Trayvon Martin

Seventeen year old African American student Jordan Russell Davis was gunned down two weeks ago as he sat in a car outside a convenience store in Jacksonville Florida listening to music with his friends. The shooter, Michael Dunn a 45 year-old gun collector and software engineer, fired at least eight shots into the car after admonishing the teenagers about the volume of their music.

Dunn fled the scene after the assault and police found no weapons in the car or in the surrounding area. Jordan Davis’ father, Ron Davis stated, “They were just kids…They have never been in trouble. The kids had no weapon; they had no drugs in the car.”

Dunn who claimed to have felt threatened when one of the car’s occupants brandished a shot gun is using the Stand Your Ground law in his defense. This same defense was used to justify the slaying of 17 year old Trayvon Martin who was also killed in Florida this past February. The Trayvon Martin shooting provoked national outrage over the laws.

Jordan Davis’ case is once again putting a spotlight on the controversial ‘Stand Your Ground Laws’ which are on the books in twenty states. The law was originally crafted by the National Rifle Association or NRA and introduced to the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC who pushed it as a “model bill.” The Florida version of the law passed in 2005. While the legislation provides no clear definition of what constitutes a threat, it allows people to use deadly force if they feel threatened regardless of whether they can safely leave the scene.

Florida Governor Rick Scott instituted a six month task force to assess the Stand Your Ground Law after the Trayvon Martin Case. The task force, comprised partially of people who had originally drafted the law, did not institute any substantial reforms despite data which has clearly shown substantial impact on racial minorities.

GUEST: Mychal Denzel Smith, writer and social commentator whose work on race, social justice, politics, feminism, and black male identity has appeared online for the Guardian, The Nation, Al Jazeera English, The Atlantic, The Root, and other publications.

Click here to read Mychal Denzel Smith’s Guardian article about Jordan Davis.

86 responses so far

86 Responses to “Florida Case of Murdered Black Teen, Jordan Davis, Has Echoes of Trayvon Martin”

  1. K Andersonon 07 Dec 2012 at 11:26 am

    How do I protect MY son? Who will fight for him if he’s faced with the same situation? How can I stop this same travesty from beating my child down before he has a chance to make a difference? I weep for these kids, and moreso, I weep for their mothers, their fathers, brothers and sisters. Is there nothing that can be done to prevent this? The thought of my child slain in innocence is deafening and disheartening. My frustration is blinding and frankly… “I feel threatened.” Now what?

  2. R. K. Whiteon 07 Dec 2012 at 11:39 am

    Thank you for reporting on this unfortunate circumstance. This tragic incident is horrifying. Our youth are not for the slaughter. The ineffective biased task force is a disgrace and an insult to victims and future victims of the Stand Your Ground Law. The actions of Gov. Scott are another example of mass disrespect and disregard to Americans especially those who are ethnically of the minority population.

    Clearly action needs to be taken to send the message that our youth are valuable. Violence is not the answer.

  3. alexon 07 Dec 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I hate that our world is going back to slavery and making it ok for white people to do what they want aand get away with it how would these people feel if there child was shot down in cold blood for no reason wow im scared for my kids more and more everyday he need to be hung and shot back at…….

  4. Edward Tyleron 07 Dec 2012 at 1:50 pm

    It’s a’s open season on black people.It’s no wonder in a society that puts labels on people.In France we’d be frenchmen in Italy we’d be it Italian.but in A-M-E-R-I-C-A we’re African-American(black),Asian-American.Puerto Rican-American etc…..Wake up this is America we’re all americans.Regardless of race creed color I am not African-American No matter my beliefs or convictions I am first an American with African descent that is what defines me I was born here not africa. Stop the madness we are all children of God we are all here we are all in this together the things that are important are colorless such as love happiness joy We live we die the color of our skin wont change that Hate me for the things I’ve done not for who or what I am

  5. Nicki Con 07 Dec 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Sorry to say these things happen and we (AA community) only get upset when it’s NOT Black on Black crime. Chicago is a haven for black on black crimes, as well as, my hometown (Memphis, TN). Nobody’s marching the streets to tell our youth they can do better, stop killing one another, work to resolve issues before they get to this place.

    But, once we encounter a death of ANOTHER black youth, by someone non-black we’re somehow “outraged”. We should be outraged PERIOD for the lack of care when it comes to taking someone’s life. No one deserves to die at the hands of another. Why aren’t we doing more? Why aren’t the AA churches doing more to be vocal? They are in the very neighborhoods where the crimes are. Yet, are ready to walk with Jesse and Al when they show up for these sensationalized crimes in the media. Of course this guy was wrong to kill this kid, but when other ethnicities see the lack of care we display for our own, why are we expecting them to practice civility?

    There’s a lot to be said. It’s sad, it’s disturbing, but until WE as an ethnicity/people come together and do more as a UNIFIED race (the only ethnic race that isn’t), than what are we hoping for? Jesse Jackson isn’t walking the streets of Chicago, where he lives, so I don’t want to see him in any other city doing it. Stop being selective about your outrage and anger and do MORE to be proactive and prevent it.

    We’ll never be deemed equal as long as we have a culture of “no snitching” or selective situations that we support when it comes to our own. We MUST do better. It’s not up to the President, it’s up to US.

  6. Rcomeron 07 Dec 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I personally think the SO called Stand your ground Law” is putting us as a country, right back where we started. I am appalled that they would let people get away with such senseless acts of murder. There should no excuse exceptable for killing another human being. How dare the government give people a escape to play god at their own free will. SICK

  7. Shaeon 07 Dec 2012 at 3:23 pm

    It is sad when any young child is taken from this earth. This stand your grounds law is causing more harm than protection for individuals. My prayers go out to his family and friends. Something has to change.

  8. Terrill Wycheon 07 Dec 2012 at 3:33 pm

    To the extent that we (nonwhite people) live in a system of Racism White Supremacy, we should not be surprised by such violence. We need to properly identify this as White Supremacy Terrorism and not attribute this to gun accessibility.

  9. Jermaineon 07 Dec 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I appreciate, support, and agree with all of the comments! The senseless, troublesome, and disturbing acts of violence have become not just tiresome, but exhausting to mentally and emotionally take in. Its heart breaking to know that another set of parents, family members, and friends have to now live with the memorial presence of their fallen loved one instead of getting to see them walk in the door full of life and smiles. I believe the state of Florida has not learned the lesson of what affect that the Trayvon Martin case had on this nation particularly in the minority community. I am not only still praying for the Martin and Davis families and other families who have suffered similar tragedies, but I also pray for the Zimmerman and Davis people outthere who still walk in the fear of racism, discrimination, and prejudice within their hearts. Speaking of hearts only Jesus Christ can transform the heart of a man and not only Florida, but Chicago, IL right along with our entire nation starting with our churches need to be revived to become more proactive in our approach towards violence everywhere to speak breathing life back into our hearts and minds. Regardless if its a black on black crime or another non minority on a minority crime, its really in actuality a people on people crime. Romney probably didn’t get in office, but people still carry the mentality. Shoot when feel threatened, even when its no real threat, its just a fear of what some refuse to try to get acquainted with and get to know.

  10. Jessica W.on 07 Dec 2012 at 4:03 pm

    This is so sad. I don’t feel like there should even be such a law as the “stand your ground law” who was that man to say he felt threatened by two boys in a car.. We went from getting beat to death for whistling at a white female to getting thrown in jail for not sitting in the back of the bus to our innocent children getting shot and killed for listening to music in a car… its such a shame.

  11. Reggieon 07 Dec 2012 at 4:47 pm

    We as a people need to start living and get to know GOD personally.

  12. Joeon 07 Dec 2012 at 6:29 pm

    There’s a difference between standing your ground and being blatantly defiant.

  13. agarraton 07 Dec 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Im wondering is it as easy for a black man compared to a whiye man to acquire a pistol license and a firearm? If so let them carry and stand there ground then we’ll see if they want to change the law then…
    It would probably change overnight.

  14. double-standardon 07 Dec 2012 at 8:41 pm

    There is so much black-on-black crime that occurs EVERY DAY. I don’t understand how none of you are crying foul over that, but 2 black males are killed by “white” people and people start yelling Racism and White Supremacy. Are you serious??

  15. BDexon 08 Dec 2012 at 3:42 am

    so let me get this straight. If I chase or follow somebody, get my ass kicked, then shoot the person I followed, harassed and tried to detain for kicking my ass, I can use the stand your ground law? Or I can cuss out teenagers for playing music in front of a store (not my house), probably get cussed out back, go to my car and get my gun and shoot up the car with 8 shots, killing the teen in the BACK SEAT who more than likely didn’t own the car the music was coming from, and use the stand your ground law?

    America is still great but they have an infestation of lunatics

  16. Marloon 08 Dec 2012 at 7:24 am

    Miss Nikki C, Thank You for your truthful. Eloquant and Passionate comment. In Chicago, their is a talley of the number of murdered citizens per day. All you hear is crickets when it comes to Mr.j Jackson, Mr Meeks, even the president only mentioned the rise in violence that has plagued Chicago, because he was forced to during his campaign. Rumors abound how the gang culture and blood money has permeated even the most hallowed of grounds, our neighborhood churches. Not a peep from the 100’s of reverends and pastors, to stop the violence amongst the members of their flock. The police have their hands tied. The constitution it seems protects more the criminal then the law adiding citizen. If the police fight aggression and violence with the same intensity the institution as a whole is considered a bully and overzealous. The laws and ordinances are deemed unconstitutional, so lawlessness abounds. The Million dollars given to Ceasefire, an organization of felons and ex gang leaders, by the mayor of Chicago, to help quell the violence has seen disapointing results. Good hardworking citizens are trapped in their homes and neighborhood, like lambs for the slaughter. Respect for life, compassion, morals and values are concepts learned at home and seems lost on some of the those in the younger generation. The perception of one fearing for ones life is justified in today’s world. The gangster culture has been exualted to a level that even our good kids seem to want to emulate. It’s hard for the older generation to grasp how having ones pants down to ones knees, playing music from ones car at exgerated levels, coming up from a gangway and shooting multiple people sitting on their porch, or shooting into a crowd where children are just buying some snowcones, Normal or exceptible. 500 + people dead, in chicago the world sees this. Florida has seen its share. People get scared of that anticipated violence. Tragedy will always follow that perception, whether its justified or not. Hopefully, both cases in Florida will be resolved by a jury of their peers. Prayers to the families of all that have been touched by senseless violence. Communities have to come together and get their neighborhoods back. Our children are killing each other, leaving room for others to think they can do the same.

  17. Ed Livingstonon 08 Dec 2012 at 7:31 am

    “despite data which has clearly shown substantial impact on racial minorities.”

    The quoted statement can only be considered intended to deceive; but as it is so nebulous the author can always claim that it meant something else or nothing at all. The statement appears to attempt to lead the reader to believe that the SYG law has a disparate or disproportionate impact on racial minorities. This meme is simply not supported by fact.

    A total of SIX whites have been exonerated under SYG for shooting blacks. A total of FOUR blacks have been exonerated under SYG for shooting whites. Given that blacks are only 16% of the Florida population, if any racial group is being disproportionally “impacted” then it would be the whites.

    Self defense is an age old concept in English/American law. Abusing the claim of self defense is equally as old. Howbeit that claiming self defense when you are not entitled to it (not referring to any specific case here) is not evidence that something is wrong with the law or the concept.

    If you want real information, and not some pundit’s opinion, it’s easy to do the research for yourself. The Tampa Bay Times, has a widget on their mugshots page which will let you go through ALL of the “Stand Your Ground cases” including those where the SYG defense was rejected. Of course, this will do you no good if you already have your mind made up to buy into the BS more easily found in opinion pieces.

    Ed Livingston

  18. Ed Livingstonon 08 Dec 2012 at 7:50 am

    @RK White and Alex

    There have been a total of 66 persons exonerated under Stand Your Ground. Of those, 23 were black and 36 were white. Blacks are 16% of the population of Florida and 35% of those exonerated under Stand Your Ground.

    People! Stop forming opinions based on what you think you see through your window or what somebody told you. The facts are out there for you to see.

    There have been:

    9 cases total (accused/convicted/exonerated) of white on black shooting in Florida since Stand Your Ground was passed. One conviction

    10 cases total of black on white shooting in Florida since Stand Your Ground was passed.

    55 white on white, 29 justified by SYG, 20 convictions.

    25 black on black, 15 justified by SYG, 6 convictions.

    Keep a couple of things in mind. Caucasians are 78% of the population of Florida. The stats on those whose Stand Your Ground defense failed are a fraction of Self Defense claims which fail in any given year. People who shoot other people claim self defense, it doesn’t mean that defending yourself is wrong or that the law protecting those who do is wrong.

  19. Ed Livingstonon 08 Dec 2012 at 8:18 am

    # BDexon 08 Dec 2012 at 3:42 am

    ” If I chase or follow somebody, get my ass kicked, then shoot the person I followed, harassed and tried to detain for kicking my ass, I can use the stand your ground law? ”

    As long as you are in a place you have a legal right to be, and engaged in a legal activity, then if you are physically threatened by another person and have a reasonable fear for your safety then you can use your weapon to defend yourself. Your synopsis of the Zimmerman/Martin confrontation assumes facts not in evidence, which is why I didn’t address them. You have no idea if Zimmerman harassed or tried to physically detain Martin. Asking a stranger teenager what he’s up to in your housing complex is not harassment. However, the fact that you view it that way could explain the decline in quality of life in many neighborhoods. When adults surrender their right to be a deterrent in their own neighborhood, you end up with bad neighborhoods.

    “Or I can cuss out teenagers for playing music in front of a store (not my house),”

    Yes. And there is nothing wrong with expecting other people, especially young people to be considerate. I am surprised at the number of people, who think it’s somehow unthinkable to correct the behavior of another person or expect some consideration.

    ….”go to my car and get my gun and shoot up the car with 8 shots……., and use the stand your ground law?”

    Hopefully there will be a security video that will clear this up one way or another. But , no, in the absence of a shotgun being pointed at Dunn then Dunn is not entitled to be exonerated under SYG. Of course, anyone can claim SYG. Up to this point, it’s actually been a concern that gangbangers were using the law to justify their killings. In that scenario, all a “gangster” has to do is cross the imaginary line with his rival, wait for him to pull a knife or gun, and then shoot him claiming self defense. No law is perfect.

  20. Ed Livingstonon 08 Dec 2012 at 8:38 am

    Rcomeron 07 Dec 2012 at 2:45 pm

    “There should no excuse acceptable for killing another human being. ”

    That is absurd. Self Defense is a a valid and organic moral legal concept. In the absence of weapons and the right to self defense, the law of the jungle prevails and civilization goes down the toilet.

    Without the Second Amendment, there is no First Amendment.

    If you give a gun to every law abiding citizen in the ghetto, how long do you think that crime and intimidation would continue to reign? It wouldn’t. Black women with guns would put a dead stop to most of the crime in the black community. Count on it. Right now, the criminals know that most people aren’t armed. In some states they can count on their victim not being armed. How can you possibly defend that?

    Explain to the widow and orphans of the former owners of Joy Market in Gulfport that it wouldn’t have been better if the storekeeper had killed the POS that robbed him and shot his brother. That man travelled 13,000 miles for a better life and got killed by a good for nothing wannabe gangbanger who is now costing the taxpayers $40,000 a year to keep him in prison. That’s $40,000 that could be going to the schools.

    But you think there is no excuse for self defense?

  21. Big Nuttininyourmouthon 08 Dec 2012 at 9:22 am


  22. Vincenton 08 Dec 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Ed Livingston I have a question for you. of the 78% of whites that make up the total population that lives in Florida, how many of then have pulled a gun and claimed self defense on SYG? How many of them own guns? How many of them encounter African Americans or Latinos on a daily basis? Of those cases you mentioned, how many of those chased and attacked others because they say they felt threatened? See it is easy to throw numbers out there but you are skewing those number to try and make a case for SYG. The fact is the law is fundamentally flawed. You ARE NOT standing your ground if you are the aggressor. I do not believe all whites are racists. I do believe these whites committed crimes. I am all for protecting yourself but this is not protection this is Bullying. When you have means of escape or not being pursued SYG should not apply. THIS IS THE ARGUMENT WE HAVE. As far as the finally statement in the article is concerned. It does disproportionately affect nonwhites in the narrow constraints of the situation, outcome and punishment after the fact; maybe not in the broad population, but then the total population of Florida are not gun slinging cowboys either.

  23. Lizon 08 Dec 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Ed Livingston on 08 Dec 2012 at 8:38 am
    the quote “Black women with guns would put a dead stop to most of the crime in the black community. Count on it.”

    Says a lot on how you view black females.Very offensive and a horrible stereotype based in ignorance. That’s why a tragedy like the Jordan Davis death can still occur in this day, age and country.

  24. Nicoleon 09 Dec 2012 at 9:22 am

    To Nicki C- way to go with an intelligent answer! Amen and God bless you and yours! :)

  25. Scotton 09 Dec 2012 at 10:10 am

    Nikki C, Marlo, and Ed Livingston…I commend each of you. Nice replies.

    And Liz, IMHO, I think you are misconstruing Ed’s comment about black women. I don’t think he is saying anything bad about black women. I think he is complimenting them on his belief that if you gave them the means, they would protect their own.

    I feel sad for this young man and his family. Unfortunately, probably none of us will truly know exactly how this situation unfolded. It is a he said, she said situation. I do whole-heartedly agree with Ed that America needs adults to be able to let youth know when they are out of line. Whether it’s loud music, foul language, or revealing clothing that is not appropriate. If youth would just start to take time and place into account then most things would be fine. I would rather they not, but if youth is cussing each other and playing loud music in a place that isn’t disturbing anyone else, then that is their right. If they are doing that in front of others, especially young kids, then they need to be confronted. I’ve had adults get on my kids. I could have gotten mad that anyone had the “gall” to correct “my” kid. Instead, I appreciate the fact that someone cares enough about our country and/or my kid to say something.

    As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. In this day and age, that doesn’t work because no one wants to accept any personal responsibility. Most just get offended, then defensive, and then (in some cases) offensive.

  26. Nateon 09 Dec 2012 at 10:25 am

    people need to stop making this out as all white people are racist an evil, it goes both ways, what happened to this kid is absolutely awful, but it is close minded and ignorant to assume all whites are racist and would have acted like that man in Florida the majority of a time that African Americans killed it is perpetrated by another African American, why isn’t that in the media why no story about that, but when something like this happens all I hear is how racist whites and so on, what this guy did is absolutely horrible but he’s the minority not the majority, racism is still alive, but clearly as these comments show it goes both ways

  27. Paulon 09 Dec 2012 at 3:16 pm

    What a racist the white guy must be, with a car full of young black men who just wanted to play their music too loud and pull a shotgun on any white man who dared to complain.

    Pathetic the way we have black people with such a distorted view on which race is killing which, and always finding excuses for the black man and fault with the non-black man. Pathetic as hell.

  28. kelsion 09 Dec 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Another sad story about a young person being killed for no real reason at all. This is absolutely ridiculous. America is going back in time to the days where stereotypes and races dividing is taking over. This kid was shot because of his music being loud and some guy not liking it. Seriously?! There are better ways to handle these situations. I wish more people cared because maybe stuff like this could be stopped, but it seems some of America isn’t going to care until it happens in their life. I hope this crime wave ends soon and people help put a stop to this. I would love to help as much as I can.

  29. Jasonon 10 Dec 2012 at 11:49 pm

    This is a wake up call to all non whites the dog haired races are not your friend it’s simple really i hurt a white person every chance i get when these things happen oh well!

  30. Ed Livingstonon 12 Dec 2012 at 7:59 am

    @ Vincent

    “of the 78% of whites that make up the total population that lives in Florida, how many of then have pulled a gun and claimed self defense on SYG? How many of them own guns?”

    There have been 66 total shootings justified under SYG, 33 failed attempts at a SYG defense, and 20 cases pending since the law was passed. Of that, 26 justifieds, 34 convictions, and 12 pending are identified as a white shooter. You didn’t ask what the numbers were for blacks, since apparently it doesn’t concern you as much, but blacks were the shooter in 23 justified, 7 convictions, 7 pending. As you can see, blacks are over represented in those exonerated by SYG.

    I don’t have the figure for gun ownership and it’s irrelevant. However, there are more than 1 million Floridians licensed to carry concealed.

    “How many of them encounter African Americans or Latinos on a daily basis? Of those cases you mentioned, how many of those chased and attacked others because they say they felt threatened? See it is easy to throw numbers out there but you are skewing those number to try and make a case for SYG. The fact is the law is fundamentally flawed. You ARE NOT standing your ground if you are the aggressor. I do not believe all whites are racists. I do believe these whites committed crimes. I am all for protecting yourself but this is not protection this is Bullying. When you have means of escape or not being pursued SYG should not apply. THIS IS THE ARGUMENT WE HAVE. As far as the finally statement in the article is concerned. It does disproportionately affect nonwhites in the narrow constraints of the situation, outcome and punishment after the fact; maybe not in the broad population, but then the total population of Florida are not gun slinging cowboys either.”

    Spare me your desperate attempts to ignore the facts.

  31. Ed Livingstonon 12 Dec 2012 at 8:07 am

    @ Liz

    Ed Livingston on 08 Dec 2012 at 8:38 am
    the quote “Black women with guns would put a dead stop to most of the crime in the black community. Count on it.”

    Says a lot on how you view black females.Very offensive and a horrible stereotype based in ignorance. That’s why a tragedy like the Jordan Davis death can still occur in this day, age and country.

    Perhaps you could clarify your response. My suggestion was that black women being armed would mean that they would be victims less often.

  32. Sera Smileson 23 Dec 2012 at 8:03 pm

    People- shouting statistics at each other isn’t helpful. Listening to each other will bring shared experiences and deeper understanding. We are all scared- of so many things- but building walls between ourselves will never allow us to bridge a common solution. Lets think this through, share thoughts, be open to others’ opinions, and begin to think collectively. Please- be sensitive and don’t fight so hard to be the absolute answer; maybe we can find common ground that will rid us of the violence and fear, and lead us toward true community.

  33. Sick & Tiredon 04 Jan 2013 at 9:54 am

    I am really getting tired of seeing the commentary which points to Black on Black Crime. The reason why I state this is because that does not negate what’s transpired here. What about White on White Crime when a mentally challenged individual opens up fire on innocent children attending school. What about the molestation from the football teams & coaches? What about the ability which adults of a football town have to cover up actions of rape by “WHITE TEENAGE MALES”. What about the “The Joker” at the “Batman” viewing???

    I as a Black Woman am tired of these stereotypical depictions! AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM. This problem is Black, While, Blue, Brown, Purple, Pink, and every color under the spectrum when in all actuality it should be Red, White, & Blue!

    *So please spare me the references to Black on Black Crime when it should so suit an agenda. The fact is that White are actually doing MASS KILLINGS last I checked and some very sick ones. Where were the adults to set those children right? Oh I forgot we as Black people are the only ones which have issues here which are broadcasted and posted on any news article commentary section which has to deal with these sort of crimes.

    It is what it is let’s keep it real…

  34. Sick & Tiredon 04 Jan 2013 at 9:59 am

    My heart goes out to the families and any victims which die of senseless and mindless violence regardless of race, creed, or identity.

  35. Willow Martinon 30 Jan 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Ed Livingston is a lie! In Stand Your Ground cases, 73% of the murders walked if the person they killed was black; in cases where the person was white, only 59% went free.

    These men are using racial stereotypes to justify killing are children. They start arguments, pick fights, knowing they’re armed, and then when they get the victim angry enough to fight, they kill them. This is their ploy, time after time. These men are evil. There’s something twisted inside them and there’s something even more twisted about the people that defend them. If we don’t come together as a people, or just as a race if white people are ok with letting black children die, more and more of our kids are going to die. If we want change, we’ll have to implement it. They’re happy for one less black boy on the streets. Evil comes in all shapes and colors. In Florida, it’s a white man hiding a gun.

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