After the April shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a task force was formed to examine Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Now, just weeks after the task force recommended only small changes to the law, another unarmed teen has been shot and killed in what will likely become a “Stand Your Ground” case.
Michael Dunn, age 45, shot eight or nine times into an SUV of four teens after an argument about the volume of their music, according to News 4 Jax, Jacksonville, Florida. The shooting, which took place at a gas station, killed another 17-year-old, Jordan Davis. Dunn and his girlfriend then fled the scene, and he was later arrested at his home.
Dunn’s attorney said that his client shot because he felt threatened, AlterNet reported, laying the groundwork for a “Stand Your Ground” defense. But, in a statement, Jacksonville Attorney Gene Nichols expressed doubt that such a defense would work in this case. "Mr. Dunn is going to have to answer the question,” he said, “'Why did you not call the sheriff's office? If you are reasonably protecting yourself, why did you leave the scene, get in the car, and the next day, flee the jurisdiction.'"
"There's no indication that Jordan or anyone else in that car had a gun, there's no indication that they were any threat to Mr. Dunn," News 4 Jax quoted Nichols as saying. "Ms. Corey's office is absolutely going to consider filing the highest possible charge that she believes she can reach and that can easily end up with a sentence that could put Mr. Dunn with the rest of his life behind bars."
If there was no major overhaul of the “Stand Your Ground” law after Trayvon Martin’s death, as much of the country called for, at least now people are aware of the problems with it. The nation will be watching closely for abuses of the law that this case could potentially involve. Hopefully, after all of the press that the Trayvon shooting got, people will not abide fear and suspicion of black teenagers as an adequate defense for murder.