The Michael Dunn Verdict: Another Warning for Black Men?


By Dr. John E. Warren

By now everyone has been following the trial of Michael Dunn, a White male who shot into a car full of Black youth killing 17 year old Jordan Davis, a Black youth. This happened 25 miles away from where George Zimmerman shot and killed Travon Martin, allegedly in self defense. He was found “not guilty” by his jury and has gone on to other police contacts including banishing a gun at his now ex-girlfriend. While it appears that Dunn could get up to 6o years for the “attempted murder charges (three in number), it’s almost impossible to see how the jury could deadlock on the first degree murder of Jordan Davis, or even a murder in the second degree or manslaughter, since at the end of this encounter, Jordan Davis was dead at the hands of Michael Dunn with no one contesting whether Dunn fired the shot.

When was the last time anywhere in America that a Black man killed anyone and was only charged with “attempted murder”? Since when does a person “feeling threatened” by someone in a car and not having direct contact with them have a right to allow that “feeling” to become “the reasonable man standard” that the law follows when there is no direct threat or contact. How does the Florida statute on “stand your ground” become a substitute for the legal concept that self defense only allows the amount of force necessary to defend against immediate harm and that any use of force beyond that which is deemed necessary is considered “excessive” and thereby a chargeable offense against the person allegedly defending himself.

Now we have the recent killing of 15 year old Adrian Broadway in Little Rock, Arkansas by 48 year old Willie Noble (both victim and killer are African American) where Noble, like Michael Dunn, fired into a car of teenagers killing one with a bullet to the head. Noble has been charged with first degree murder. While this killing took place in another state, will Noble get off with “attempted murder” Not likely.

While we remain concerned by the Michael Dunn’s, George Zimmerman’s and others who kill our kids and happen to be White, let us not forget the Willie Nobles, like so many Black on Black murders everyday in this nation. Murder can not be offensive only when race is involved. It must not be accepted at any time by anyone or against anyone. While looking at these cases, lets keep an eye on our own neighborhoods.