Justice for Jordan

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.

Let Me Tell You About Jordan and Michael

In recent weeks, innocent Black people have been killed at the hands of others who had no real provocation to shoot them.  (Think my fellow FAMU Rattler Jonathan Ferrell and Renisha McBride.)  Last November, at a Gate gas station in Jacksonville, FL 17 year-old Jordan Davis was shot by Michael Dunn.

The facts are there were four teenage boys riding in a Dodge Durango and getting gas one Sunday afternoon.  Michael Dunn and his girlfriend pulled up to  the pump next to them.  Dunn asked the boys to turn their music down.  The boys did not oblige.  An argument ensued. Dunn said he saw a gun. Dunn goes to his car, loads his gun, and fires 8 shots into the Durango.  He goes back to his car, drives to his hotel, has dinner, goes to sleep, and drives back to his home in south Florida.  (Dunn was in Jacksonville to attend his son’s wedding.) When he arrives, police are already waiting to arrest him.  Two of those eight shots hit Jordan Davis and killed him.  No one else was hit.

When Dunn was shooting at the teenagers, the driver of the Durango drove away to escape the shots.  He then turned back into the gas station to get help for his friend.  Police searched the area surrounding the station.  No gun, or any type of weapon that resembled a gun, was found around the scene of the crime.  Thanks to the quick thinking of witnesses, one wrote down Michael Dunn’s license plate number; that’s why police were waiting on him when he got home.

Dunn said he was scared and afraid that more “thugs” were coming after him in a second car, and that’s why he fled the scene.  My thinking is, if he was REALLY and TRULY scared, why didn’t he call the police?  He could have easily left the scene, called police, and agreed to meet them somewhere away from the gas station to report what happened.  I just find it hard to believe that if he felt as if he was really defending himself, why did he run?  In my experience, people who run and hide are usually guilty of something.

Michael Dunn’s trial date has been set to start on February 3, 2014.  I truly hope that justice is served for the young Mr. Davis.  I’m writing this because a wrong has been done.  A young life was senselessly and violently taken.  And I’m writing this to make sure you all are aware.  Don’t think for one moment that this does not affect you because you did not know Jordan or you don’t know Michael or you don’t live in Jacksonville.  This affects all of us, because what we don’t realize is that if we do not stand up when wrongs occur, it could give someone else in our own backyard the idea to do the same thing.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

P.S. This is a wonderfully written article regarding this crime.  I hope you all will read it.

Blame the Victim

People have been known to blame victims of date rape.  Others have said that the victim of a car or home burgarly are to blame.  And now, a few folks have taken to blaming Trayvon for his own murder.  If you’re an American and haven’t heard about Trayvon Martin, you obviously live under a rock.  In an effort to de-humanize Trayvon and justify George Zimmerman’s actions, reports are now coming out saying that Trayvon had been suspended from school for having a baggie that had drug residue.  And Geraldo Rivera commented that Trayvon’s hoodie is as much to blame for his death as George Zimmerman. *blank stare*

Just so we’re clear, folks, let’s state the obvious-George Zimmerman, riding around his neighborhood, spotted a young boy.  He called the police and reported a “suspicious person”.  Even after the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow the young man, he did anyway.  Not only did he follow him, he exited his car, with a gun, and approached this “suspicious person”.  No one, besides Trayvon and George, know what happened next, but we do know that the end result was a 17 year old kid who lost his life.

Let’s try to imagine things from Trayvon’s perspective-he’s a 17 year old CHILD.  And if his parents were like mine and most others, they probably told him to be weary of/don’t talk to strangers.  And this man who’s following him and eventually approaches him, is a stranger.  Honestly, I’m almost 30 years old and still give people the side-eye who approach me and I don’t know who they are.  But I digress…A stranger approaches you and asks you what you’re doing in the neighborhood.  Now, if he’s like most teenage boys, he might be feeling himself and give a smart remark.  Or, if he’s a little more mannerable, he might answer with a little more respect.  But if we want to be honest, Trayvon does not owe this man anything.  He’s not an officer, and he’s not an official- he’s an overzealous neighborhood watch captain.  IMHO, anyone who exits his car with a firearm is looking for trouble.  And I honestly believe that even if Trayvon told George he was visiting his father and his girlfriend, it would not have mattered. 

Now, for you people that seem to think this is only about race, it’s not.  The fact of the matter is that this unarmed boy was shot and killed (murdered, if you will), and his killer walks free.  In fact, his killer was never arrested.  It appears that the police department is serving double duty and has done the job of the attorneys.  Just so we’re clear on how this works, the police normally take the shooter in (ESPECIALLY if they have confessed), question them, then book them.  It’s up to the DA or prosecutor to decide if they want to take this to trial.  And honestly, because this man has still, one month and one day after this shooting occured, not been arrested, tensions are high and the family (along with the world) want answers…and more importantly an arrest. 

To those of you that ask what justice is, I’ll tell you- Justice, in this case, is for George Zimmerman to be arrested and charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin.  He can either plead guilty or plead innocent and go to trial and let a jury of his peers decide his fate. 

I’ve said all I will for now.  But please don’t doubt for a second that this is the last time you’ll hear about Trayvon on this blog; I can guarantee you it won’t be.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Will They Ever Get Justice?

Apparently, I’ve been under a rock with this whole Trayvon Martin case.  I guess I’ve been so tired and so not paying attention to the news that I had no interest in clicking on people’s links to the story.  But as I read OneChele’s post yesterday and FINALLY read what happened, my heart crushed.  Let’s look at the facts-a(n unarmed) 17 year old boy is walking in his soon-to-be stepmother’s neighborhood one Sunday evening and is killed.  Apparently, he looked like he didn’t belong, at least to the “head” of the Neighborhood Watch, a 26 year old man who called police and stated someone who looked “suspicious” was in his neighborhood.  Even after the dispatcher told George Zimmerman to stop following the young man and that police were on the way, he did what he wanted to do.  No one knows exactly what transpired, but by the time police arrived, this kid who had dreams of being an aviation mechanic lay face down in the ground, dead from a gunshot to the chest.  The only things he had on him were a bag of skittles, a can of tea, and some change.  Even after confessing to shooting this kid, proclaiming self-defense, George Zimmerman is a free man.  Of course the community and Trayvon’s family is in an uproar and wants to know what the police are going to do about it. 

And lest we not forget Mitrice Richardson, the young lady I have mentioned on my blog NUMEROUS times, whose body was found 11 months after she walked out of the Lost Hills police station in Malibu, CA after being arrested for not paying a restaurant bill.  Today at noon (PST), the Los Angeles County is releasing a report of how the police handled Mitrice’s remains.  Yes, Mitrice’s parents just settled a wrongful death suit with the Sheriff’s office, but in my eyes, that’s not enough.  A cause of death has not been determined, even after having her body exumed, and her killer still roams the streets. 

I ask you all not to ever forget these two young people who had dreams, goals, and families who loved them.  Most of all, they were taken away too soon.  I truly hope and pray that their killers are brought to justice.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

This Week in the News

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Coors Light Coldest Artist Live Show featuring N.E.R.D & Pac Div in Baltimore.  GREAT performances, and I had a great view!  The official post about the event will be up by early next week.

Unfortunately, I have to start this post with some bad news.  This week, we’ve lost some iconic people-Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, Dr. Jack Kervokian, and Gil Scott-Heron (last week).  My condolences go out to their families and loved ones. 

On some other sad news, former N.C. Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful John Edwards has been indicted on charges he gave campaign money to his mistress.  *OUCH!!!*  It appears that Edwards can’t win for losing.   At one time, he was America’s Golden Boy.  Then things started taking an unfortunate turn of events-from his affair to his love child now this. 

And speaking of Presidential candidates…Mitt Romney is seeking to become the Republican nominee for President in the 2012 election.  It seems as if Romney may have the same problems he had 4 years ago-his Mormon background, his flip-flopping on the issues, and the universal healthcare bill he signed into Massachusetts law during his tenure.  In my humble opinion, I believe that Romney is the best choice in Republican nominee for the Presidency.  But it will remain to be seen how this campaign season plays out.

On a brighter note, one of my favorite rock stars, Pink, delivered a baby girl this week!  Willow Sage Hart, daughter of Pink and cutie Carey Hart, was born on Thursday morning.  Baby, mom, and dad are doing great!

I haven’t talked about Mitrice Richardson lately, but the latest news is that her parents have filed a lawsuit against the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.  Although there have been numerous requests for the FBI to examine Mitrice’s remains and determine a cause of death, I’m still not certain if that’s been done.  For her family’s sake and so she can rest in peace, I hope that one day we can find out what really happened to this woman.

What news is going on in your city?  Have an awesome weekend, and I’ll be back next week. Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

This Week in the News

Who knew Common was a thug rapper???  I certainly missed that memo!  Now, I must admit I don’t own any Common albums (I hear what’s on the radio and what plays on my Common Slacker station), but I believe I’m familiar enough with him to know he’s NOT a thug or anything demeaning that Karl Rove wants the American people to believe that he is.  I think there was enough backlash on Twitter to get the point that America wasn’t falling for it. 

And now Jill Scott is a racist…just because of some remarks she made in an article she wrote last year for Essence regarding interracial dating.  Jill states she grew up to believe that everyone is equal, but she felt “her soul wince” when she found out a friend of hers was dating a Caucasian woman.   I applaud Ms. Scott for her honesty; I’m sure we all feel some type of way when we see a friend that we feel has “made it” dating someone outside of their race, no matter or skin color or ethnicity.  Both cases are just classic examples of right wing extremists going overboard.

I’m no watcher of “Two and a Half Men”, but I’m sure someone is as it’s the #1 comedy in America.  And in the wake of Charlie Sheen going off the deep end, Ashton Kutcher will be replacing the star next season.  Apparently a deal was finalized last night.  Maybe I’ll watch the season premiere, just because…

And it appears Eddie Long is going to trial.  If you’re like me, the Bishop fell off your radar a time or two, but it appears he’s always been under the watchful eye of somebody.  Like the Bishop stated, I believe we are all ready for the truth to come out, so I support this case being settled in court. 

And lest we not forget the comments that Clifton Powell made about Spike Lee.  You can listen to them here.  He admits he shouldn’t do it, but he continues talk about Spike and threaten to kick his tail…Why can’t we all just get along???  It’s one thing if you don’t like someone and/or their politics, but it isn’t always necessary to put stuff out there.  This is just an opportunity to keep stuff going in Black Hollywood, which is small anyway.

Lastly, my condolences to the families of Mia Davis and Daryl Hawks, who both passed unexpectedly this week.

What news is going on in your world?  I hope you all have a great weekend, and until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

This Week in the News

Happy Good Friday!  Some of you have a 3 day weekend (lucky!), while the rest of us have to work.  At least today will be a short day for me. 

First, sad to say that the body of 16 year old North Carolina teen Phylicia Barnes was found in a Baltimore river last night.  Investigators are working diligently to find out what happened to the student and to see if there is any connection between her and a male whose body was found a few miles from hers in the same river.  My prayers go out to her family.

On a different note, who doesn’t love a good cupcake?  (I know I do!)  Well, so does have of the DMV area.  So much so that the line at Georgetown Cupcake in Bethesda Row is blocking the entrances and patios of neighboring businesses, which does not make owners happy.  Currently, the owners of Georgetown Cupcake are thinking of solutions to their problem. 

Today is Earth Day.  Make sure you do something to recycle and protect the Earth.  For more about Earth Day and to see what activities are happening in your area, go here.

And what I knew would probably be inevitable one day-Tyler Perry telling Spike Lee to “go straight to h*ll!”  Yes, we all know that Perry and Lee have never really gotten along.  I’m a fan of both filmmakers.  Both filmmakers also do some things that I don’t enjoy.  But I have a feeling there is a little jealousy on Spike’s part.  Tyler has been able to be more successful that Spike, even during the days of “Do the Right Thing”, “School Daze”, and “Malcolm X”.  It’s never a good thing when there’s dissension amongst people in the same field, but as it has been pointed out before, W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington didn’t alwways get along, either. 

That’s all I have for you today, folks.  What did I miss?  What’s going on in your world’s?  Enjoy your weekend, have a wonderful Good Friday, and a Happy Easter!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!