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Jacksonville wins justice for Jordan Davis

By Fern

Jacksonville Progress Coalition activists chant outside the courthouse

Jacksonville, FL – After a week and a half of keeping watch over the Duval County Courthouse, a verdict has been reached in the retrial of Michael Dunn, Oct. 1. Dunn is the white racist who murdered African American youth Jordan Davis in 2012. After two years and a mistrial, the family of Jordan Davis finally won some measure of justice today when the jury came back with a guilty verdict.

Activists with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition (JPC) and other groups kept a presence at the courthouse since the retrial began on Sept. 22. Many of the activists were also present during the first trial of Michael Dunn earlier this year, where a mistrial was declared on the first degree murder charge for killing Jordan Davis. Activists had tables, banners and signs at the ready for several hours each day since the start of the retrial, many reading, “Justice for Jordan Davis,” and “Angela Corey out now.” Angela Corey is the state attorney who let George Zimmerman off the hook after he murdered Trayvon Martin and she's also responsible for botching the first trial of Michael Dunn. Corey, however, seems to have no problem going after African American Marissa Alexander and trying to increase her sentence to 60 years for harming no one as she defended herself from an abusive husband.

Dozens of reporters were present on at the courthouse and many were asking about the JPC's message regarding Angela Corey. Wells Todd, a spokesperson for the JPC, was present through the original trial and retrial of Michael Dunn. Todd explained why the JPC wants Angela Corey out of office, even though a conviction was won during this retrial: “Angela Corey has locked up more Black and Latino youth in her jurisdiction than anywhere else in Florida, and if she had her way, there wouldn't have been a retrial of Michael Dunn in the first place.” For those reasons and many others, the JPC summed up that it was the people's struggles that won the retrial and won the guilty verdict. People power carried the day and forced the conviction of Michael Dunn, despite the efforts of Angela Corey and the ruling class she works for.

Todd spoke to half a dozen news cameras, saying, “Jordan Davis was a teenager doing what teenagers do when his life was taken. One of the main reasons for the second trial was the pressure that came from the parents and the community. They turned up the heat on Angela Corey and made this case visible not only to Americans across this country, but around the world. I live near Jacksonville Beach, where white teenagers drive around listening to loud music all the time and nothing happens to them.”

Tefa Galvis of the JPC quickly organized a press conference once the verdict was announced. Speakers announced that the JPC would be continuing to organize to get Angela Corey out of office and would turn their attention to the Marissa Alexander trial coming up at the end of this year.

JPC organizer Dennis Thomas has been coming to the courthouse since the retrial began, holding signs and using organizing skills picked up while fighting to free Marissa Alexander and protesting the injustice going on in Ferguson. Dennis said, “We needed that guilty verdict especially because of what's been happening regarding violence against young Black men in America. We fought hard to say that it's not open season on young Black men and that justice must be served.”

The struggle is far from over, but it's right to celebrate a victory against the racist ruling class. Members of the JPC closed out the press conference by chanting “Free Marissa now!”

Wells Todd gives an interview about the significance of the verdict

Several Jacksonville Progress Coalition activists spoke to the media

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