When the jury in the first trial against Michael Dunn came back as deadlocked regarding the charge of 1st degree murder I was saddened and upset. I believed that the Duval County Prosecutor’s Office would not retry Dunn. He was found guilty of the other 4 charges, including the attempted murder of the other occupants of the car, and was looking at a sentence of 60 years in prison. But the prosecutor’s office didn’t think that was good enough. They decided to go to trial again on the sole count of 1st degree murder.
I am happy to say that the jury came back today with a decision of guilty. I have to admit when I saw the make-up of the jury-7 white men, 3 white women, 1 black man, and 1 black woman-had me scared that Jordan would not get justice and his death would have been in vain. In a country that has a long history with race relations, something that a lot of people sweep under the rug or choose to ignore, and in a city with which I am very familiar, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. But I am extremely happy that Michael Dunn was found guilty.
This verdict is much more than a man being found guilty of murder. This verdict shows that you can’t shoot and kill someone because you feel disrespected. Because a child doesn’t respond to you the way you would like. Because someone was playing music you didn’t like. And, most importantly, this verdict shows that the lives of Black boys matter.
Jordan, you did not die in vain. Your life matters. And the man that took it away will spend the rest of his life in prison.