The George Zimmerman trial has brought discussions of race and racial profiling to the forefront, sparking a national dialogue on the role it may have played during the weeks-long trial.
Zimmerman’s defense team argued that he killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense, and, ultimately, a Florida jury acquitted him of all charges in the death of African-American teen.
Martin’s death has cast a spotlight on the topic of race and for some he has become a martyr in the fight against racial prejudice.
Jordan Davis’ death revisited
The attention surrounding Martin’s controversial death has shed light on a separate incident also out of Florida.
On November, 23, 2012, another 17-year-old African-American, Jordan Davis, was shot to death following an argument over loud music coming from the teen’s car, according to authorities.
Michael David Dunn, a white, 46-year-old software developer, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Davis.
Three other teens sat in the car with Davis, which was parked next to Dunn. The argument reportedly escalated and Dunn told police that he thought he saw a gun, which led him to shoot eight or nine bullets into the car, killing Davis.
Dunn then reportedly drove off and stopped to buy a slice of pizza. He claims that he drove off, unaware that his shots had killed the young man.
Davis’ death has inspired people to question the legitimacy of Florida justice system, sentiments which were also echoed after Martin’s death..
The two incidents undoubtedly took an emotional toll on the parents of both boys, and drew sympathy from millions of Americans who have protested and signed petitions in effort to deliver the justice they believe has been wrongly applied.
Case at a standstill
For Davis’ parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, things have come to a standstill in the murder trial of Dunn as a second judge, Mallory Cooper, has removed herself from the case. Cooper replaced Judge Suzanne Bass, who stepped down due to the defense’s concerns for a fair trial, according to The Florida Times-Union.
Dunn has been charged with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder. Although it is unclear why Cooper recused herself from the case, Bass’ removal was sparked by her motions to deny Dunn bail and her refusal to allow the states to declare him indigent, which led the defense to request her to step down after their concerns for a fair trial.
As of now, Davis’ parents seek answers and still hold on to hope for amendments to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, which allows citizens to use force in self-defense if they feel threatened.
It is the same law that was addressed in Zimmerman’s trial – and it has been subjected to considerable scrutiny in the aftermath of the jury’s verdict.
Now, the parents of Davis and Martin – who at one point in time were complete strangers – have become close and built a relationship to support each other in the loss of their 17-year-old children.
“We were down in Miami to help celebrate Trayvon’s 18th birthday. We are in touch about what we’re doing. We’re trying to support them as much as we can,” Davis’ father told Jet in their former issue.
He added: “I have told Trayvon’s father Tracy that anytime you want to call or text me, you can do that. It’s all a story until it’s not a story. He’s not going to be left by himself. It’s not about the 15 minutes.”
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works