Jordan Davis' family speaks out on struggle to reform 'Stand Your Ground'
Last November, 17-year-old Jordan Davis was killed in Jacksonville, Florida. Since his death, his family has joined forces with Trayvon Martin’s family to launch a fortuitous campaign against the validity of the Stand Your Ground Law.
Ron Davis, Sr. has been diligently working on behalf of his deceased son. Together with Jordan’s mother, Lucia McBath, they’ve created Walk With Jordan, which is two foundations dedicated to Jordan’s legacy. Due to court restrictions, the family can’t discuss their feelings about the alleged shooter’s recent letters sent from his jail cell.
As the family prepares for the upcoming trial, theGrio was able to speak to Ron Davis, Sr. and his son, Ron Davis, Jr. about their thoughts on the case and the Stand Your Ground Law.
theGrio: It has almost been a year since Jordan’s untimely passing. How is the family doing?
Ron Davis, Sr.: We’re busy planning an event to commemorate Jordan’s one year passing at the Sea Walk Pavilion on Jacksonville Beach in Jacksonville, Florida. We’re going to have Charlie Latham, the mayor of Jacksonville and police chief, Patrick Dooley speaking at the event. We’re going to have a lot of different artists there like J-City. He was the one who did the Jordan Davis tribute, and he is going to perform that song. We’re going to have other artists as well. We’re going to have some families there who have been victims of violence speaking too. We’re going to have a nice ceremony. After the ceremony, we’re going to have a candlelight vigil, and after the vigil, we’re going to release some balloons.
Ron Davis, Jr.: Right now, we’re pretty much taking it day by day. We’re trying to further the cause and making sure people know about my brother here in Virginia and elsewhere.
Back in August, the judge overseeing the case issued a delay in getting the murder trial started. Why did the judge push the trial date to begin early next year?
Ron Davis, Sr.: As family members, we wanted the case to move as quickly as possible, so we could start our healing process, but in reality, you have to give the defense attorney the time he needs to depose of the witnesses and make sure everything he needs is given to him. If you put him under too much of a time constraint, it lends itself to the defendant having an opportunity to appeal if he loses the verdict because he was pushed into hurrying up. So – even though we don’t particularly care for the fact it’s taking longer and longer, it’s actually beneficial because that way, when the verdict comes down, he will have less to appeal. We think the judge is doing a great job and we’re behind the court system all the way. Our feeling is the trial will begin the first or second week of February.
You and Jordan’s mother have been traveling across the country speaking out against the Stand Your Ground laws alongside Trayvon Martin’s parents. Florida seems to be the breeding ground for many of these tragedies recently. What are some of your family’s plans in combating the law itself?
Ron Davis, Sr.: As a matter of fact, I spoke to Tracy last week. What we’re doing to combat this law is we’re meeting with senators. We’ve been talking to Senator Durbin, who is one of the majority Whips in the Senate. We’ve been talking to our Congresswoman Corrine Brown, and Congresswomen Yvette Clarke and Sheila Jackson Lee. So – we’re getting to the Senators and House members to let them know they all have to get together because even though it’s a state law; it’s going to affect us as a nation. This is why we’re talking to them so they can meet with their state leaders. If states want to have a Stand Your Ground statute, then they need to rewrite it. If you say you don’t want to throw the law away completely, then let’s get rid of the gray area with it. Make sure the shooter is held accountable for their actions.
After the unjust verdict in the Trayvon Martin trial in July, are you worried that justice won’t be served for your son and brother?
Ron Davis, Sr.: Well, it’s always in our stomachs that something could happen. The facts speak for themselves. But law and justice are two different things as I always tell people. Because law is so fluid that all you need is for the prosecutor to make a mistake and it could free this man. You could have all the laws on your side, but one thing could change everything. We could have all the evidence in the world, but if people don’t have a connection with my son Jordan, then that means if you’re on the jury and you can’t make a connection with my son, then you may let someone go who should be in jail. So that’s some of the things that bother us as parents.
Ron Davis, Jr.: As Jordan’s brother, I feel like we will be victorious. All the evidence is pointing toward this man being guilty. I’m a strong believer in God, and I know we’re going to be victorious. My brother was a good kid. He didn’t harm anyone. He was one of those average kids who loved music and loved to have a good time. We had a special bond.
Follow Chris Williams on Twitter at @CWmsWrites.