Parents of Jordan Davis Speak on Juror #4

If only more people could exhibit grace like the parents of Jordan Davis, the world would be a better place.

Of course there’ll always be sociopathic assholes like Michael Dunn among us. However, as I watch the reactions to the verdict in his trial, I can’t help but to think that many of us outside spectators, in our expressed outrage, are somewhat like the Michael Dunns of the world. Which is kind of scary when you think of the fact that the ability to resolve conflict without violence is a lost art in America. I say a lost art, but the truth is that I’m not sure whether our society ever had said ability.

Juror #4 – who asked to be identified simply as “Valerie” – told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the issue of self-defense forced the jury into an immediate deadlock and prompted some shouting matches. Two and then three jurors ultimately believed Dunn, 47, was justified in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Valerie, who wanted a murder conviction, says the group knew within the first hour that they would be unable to reach a unanimous decision.

 

The first thing jurors did when handed the case was turn to page 25 in the jury instructions, she said. The question: Do you believe that Michael Dunn was justified or unjustified in the murder of Jordan Davis?”

 

“It said if he believed that he had an eminent threat to himself or his fiancee, so that was a thing that those two folks believed – he was frightened and there was no other option for him in regards to Mr. Davis,” Valerie said. “The rest of us were 100 percent sure, you didn’t have to react [with gunfire], you could have had another option.

 

Jordan-Davis--parents-interview (1)“We looked at a lot of evidence – and myself, it was where the gunshots were, the timing. Could he have had other options? To me, [the shooting] was unnecessary.”

 

Dunn never denied that he shot and killed Davis in a gas station parking lot after they got into an argument over loud music. But he pleaded self-defense from the witness stand. Jurors found the middle-aged software developer guilty on four of five charges for shooting at Davis’ friends, who were also in the car, as well as firing a gun into a car in the 2012 incident. But the mistrial on the first-degree murder charge for shooting Davis has sparked outrage. (source)

Look, the fact that 3 jurors believed that Michael Dunn was justified and acted in self-defense and essentially out of fear. Personally, I don’t think the verdict has anything to do with race; or, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. What this verdict says to me, is that 3 of the 12 jurors bought what the defense was selling. Other than that, the prosecution actually won with 9 jurors voting to convict Dunn of first degree murder. Heck, according to Juror #4, the initial vote produced a 10-2 vote for a conviction on the most serious count of first degree murder.

But of course none of this matters, nor is the fact that Dunn will face retrial.

Don’t get me wrong, given this country’s history of racial injustices, it’s understandable why there’s collective outrage. After all, we do have a not-so-blind system of justice which is exacerbated by increased and ongoing income inequality. Real talk: the cost of legal counsel isn’t cheap.

I don’t want to tell folks how they should feel or express themselves given the verdict. What I would say, however, is that if Jordan Davis’ mother has the ability to forgive and pray for Michael Dunn as she expressed at the post-trial press conference. Who are we as outsiders looking in to exhibit the attitudes synonymous with angry racist white mobs of old?

We do still want justice, right?

Or is it more comfortable to mire in hopelessness and defeatism unlike the parents of Jordan Davis?