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Protests outside trial of Jordan Davis' killer continue during opening statements

By staff

Jacksonville activists rally outside the Duval County  Courthouse demanding 'Jus

Jacksonville, FL – About 15 protesters assembled outside of the Duval County Courthouse, Feb. 6, as jurors heard opening statements in the first degree murder trial of Michael Dunn, the racist killer of 17-year-old African American youth Jordan Davis. Members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition and the New Jim Crow Movement held signs and spoke to people at the courthouse to demand “Justice for Jordan Davis.”

Protests began on Feb. 4 outside the courthouse as activists vowed to stop a repeat of the not-guilty verdict in last year's George Zimmerman trial, in which the killer of Trayvon Martin was acquitted on all charges.

“I came out to rally for justice for Jordan Davis,” said Biko Misabiko, a Jacksonville activist who protested the Zimmerman verdict in Sanford, Florida last year. “[I came out] to end the injustices of the legal system to the minority – not to allow this to be another mistrial case like what happened to Trayvon Martin. We will stand and demand justice for all.”

Dunn, a 45-year-old white racist, fired eight rounds from a handgun at a Gate gas station in Jacksonville in November 2012, killing Davis and injuring three passengers in the car with Davis. When asked by police, Dunn claimed that he felt threatened by Davis and fabricated a story about the four youths threatening him with a weapon. No weapons, guns or otherwise, were found in Davis' car. Dunn immediately left the scene of the crime to drive to Saint Augustine with his girlfriend, where they checked in to a hotel and ordered pizza just hours after slaying the African American teen. Dunn is charged with first degree murder and three additional counts of attempted murder.

Protesters held signs that read, “Stand up, fight back for Jordan Davis” and “Jail the killer.” Others held signs criticizing State Attorney Angela Corey, whose office is prosecuting Dunn. Although protesters are demanding a guilty verdict, many worry that her botched prosecution of Zimmerman, which allowed him to walk free, may repeat itself in the Dunn trial. Corey has also drawn criticism for disproportionately targeting African Americans for prosecution, including Marissa Alexander.

Despite attempts by Judge Russell Healey and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to restrict protesters and media access to the trial, people continued demonstrating on the front lawn of the courthouse.

Four members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense also rallied separately.

At a short press conference, rally organizers announced plans to continue building the movement for justice for Jordan Davis. The SCLC will continue having a presence outside the courthouse and other organizations will work towards mobilizing the Jacksonville community for larger events.

Legal analysts and courthouse staff believe that the trial will last fewer than two weeks, with a verdict delivered around Feb.14.

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