NAACP Statement on the Michael Dunn Verdict: There Are No Winners in this CaseFebruary 15, 2014
(BALTIMORE)—On Saturday, the jury in the trial of Michael Dunn, a Florida man who shot a teenager to death in a parking lot, found Dunn guilty of second-degree attempted murder for getting out of his car and firing 10 times at the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle in which Jordan Davis was killed. The judge declared a mistrial on the count of first-degree murder; which applied in the death of Jordan Davis. The NAACP released the following statements in response to the verdict:
Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Florida State NAACP:
“The State of Florida has spoken and 47-year old Michael Dunn will have to answer for some of his crimes relating to having opened fire on an SUV filled with unarmed black teenagers. Today a jury convicted Dunn on three counts for the attempted murder of Tevin Thompson, Leland Brunson, and Tommy Storns, the three teens in the car with Jordan. The judge declared mistrial on the count of first-degree murder that applied to the death of Jordan Davis.
While prosecutors have stated they will retry Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis, there are no winners in this case. Two parents will forever remain without their only son; three other young men had their lives changed forever and the State of Florida and the country as a whole is left to deal with yet another senseless murder of an innocent young man whose life was cut short for no other reason than the color of his skin. Young, black men are not thugs or suspicious by definition; and this important verdict reconfirms that those who commit crimes based on those misplaced preconceptions will not go unpunished.
The NAACP will continue to push for a change in the laws that make these types of crimes more prevalent and the punishment for their commission, less likely. Stand Your Ground laws create an environment that places far too many people, especially young African-American men, at risk of losing their lives as a result of nothing more than the perception that someone "feels" threatened. The only possible result of assigning life and death decision-making authority to anyone with a gun is the unnecessary loss of innocent lives.
The NAACP will continue to work with the State of Florida and the other 33 states across the country who currently maintain some form of stand your ground law to repeal these inherently discriminatory laws. People should be allowed to live without constant fear that their lives are at risk just because of someone's offensive- often race-based—perception. Inappropriate stereotyping should not carry a penalty of death for black youth.”
Niaz Kasravi, NAACP Criminal Justice Director:
"This case is a perfect example of how stand your ground laws are illogical and often lead to tragic outcomes, especially to people of color who often end up on the wrong side of the weapon,” stated Dr. Niaz Kasravi, NAACP Criminal Justice Director. "To help prevent future tragedies such as the death of Jordan Davis, we must repeal stand your grounds laws and bring back common sense self-defense policies in every state across this country.”
Kevin Myles, NAACP Region 5 Director:
“I'm happy that Michael Dunn will now be off the streets, but my heart is heavy for that fact that he was not held accountable for the young life he stole,” stated Kevin Myles, NAACP Region 5 Director. “That said, I applaud the prosecutors decision to retry the 1st degree murder charge and look forward to justice being served.”
Contact Derek Turner for additional information and comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.