Friday, February 14, 2014

Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Richard Sherman, Barack Obama: White America's Historic Problem With 'Arrogant' Black People

There was an ugly epilogue to that strange crime. A drunken Motlow shot and killed a conductor on a passenger train in 1924 and beat the murder charge through a crudely racist, and high-priced, defense strategy...
On March 17, 1924, after a visit here for a brief court appearance, Motlow had drinks with friends before heading to Union Station. He stumbled unsteadily onto the Louisville and Nashville night train for the trip home to Tennessee.
Sleeping-car car porter Ed Wallis asked Motlow for his ticket. He didn’t have one and became irate that Wallis, who was black, dared to challenge him. Conductor Clarence Pullis, who was white, intervened. As the train chuffed through the downtown tunnel toward the Eads Bridge, Motlow pulled a pistol and fired twice, striking Pullis once in the abdomen.
Pullis, of Kirkwood, died in a hospital in East St. Louis. Motlow was charged with murder.
In the era of Trayvon Martin, Troy Davis, and ominous Stand Your Ground laws, the above account is painfully familiar.

Now, consider the following:
Dunn has testified he described the music to his fiancee as "rap crap." 
In the parking lot, as the music blared, "his blood started to boil; he didn't like the music that was coming out of the car next to him; he got angrier and angrier," Wolfson said.
Dunn rolled down his window and asked the youths to turn it down, which they did, but then turned it back up, Wolfson said. 
"He got angry at the fact that a 17-year-old kid decided not to listen to him," she said, adding that Dunn then pulled a 9 mm gun out of his glove box and shot "systematically and methodically" at the SUV. "Nobody denied that Jordan was talking back. But this defendant took it upon himself to silence Jordan Davis forever." 
The jury in the Michael Dunn-Jordan Davis murder trial has decided that Dunn is "not guilty" of murder.

The matter should have been a simple one: a man with a gun shoots and kills an unarmed teenager who was sitting in a car and playing loud music. Despite the claims by the shooter that the victim and the other young people he shot were "armed", no evidence of a weapon is found. Dunn then goes back to his hotel, walks his dog, relaxes, and does not inform the police that he shot at a vehicle and its occupants 10 times.

Of course, Stand Your Ground, what is a de facto licence to shoot and kill at will, is invoked by Dunn's attorney. Jordan Davis is a 17-year-old black teenager. Michael Dunn is a 47-year-old white adult. Once more, America's long history of state sanctioned white supremacist violence against black and brown people unfairly shifts the scales of justice.

Michael Dunn was found not guilty of murder, the legal system was not able to hurdle over the added doubt which exists whenever a white person is charged with killing a black person. Of course, somehow the latter had it coming, asked for it, or provoked their own end.

Michael Dunn was found not guilty of murdering Davis because he "felt threatened". Thus, the notorious Stand Your Ground laws offer him protection from the consequences of his actions. Moreover, the decision is very much in keeping with the American social and legal precedents which have for centuries deemed black life cheap at the hands of white murderers, rapists, terrorists, and other human debris and miscreants.

There is a thread of connective tissue which runs from Trayvon Martin to Jordan Davis, President Obama, and black athletes such as Richard Sherman.

Martin was guilty of not being sufficiently deferent to a stranger with no legal authority who against police instructions chose to stalk and threaten him with a gun.

Obama has faced Birtherism, irresponsible obstructionism, and overt disrespect because he is not sufficiently compliant and deferent in the face of the Republican Party's neo Confederate white identity politics.

Sherman, a Stanford University graduate, was branded a "thug" because he dared to celebrate and tout his athletic prowess after a championship football game.

Jordan Davis was shot dead for being black, male, and having the nerve to "mouth off" to a white man:
On rebuttal, Assistant State Attorney John Guy appealed to the jurors' "common sense."
"That defendant didn't shoot into a car full of kids to save his life," he said. "He shot into it to preserve his pride. Period. That's why we're here." 
Though Davis may have had a big mouth, he had no weapon, Guy said. Though he acknowledged minor inconsistencies in witness accounts, he said that was to be expected. "It's not like television," he said. "In real life, there are inconsistencies."
All four examples consist of black people--men and teenagers in particular--who have committed one of the greatest social offenses in a country where white supremacy was standing law, and where such rules still exist in many ways.

Their "crime"? For the White Gaze, Obama, Martin, Sherman, and Davis are "arrogant" and "uppity".

During Jim and Jane Crow, black men and women had to get off of the sidewalk and avert their eyes when white people approached. African-American communities were destroyed by white rampaging mobs because the very idea of black success, genius, and dignity was "offensive" to white sensibilities.

For the White Right and its authoritarian populism in the present, Barack Obama is guilty of the major offense that is being black and successful and President of the United States. For a black man to have such achievements is a triumvirate of success, one that is intolerable to the white supremacist ethos which drives the contemporary Republican Party, and the racially resentful human mediocrities who are attracted to its authoritarian populism and the psychological wages of whiteness such an association provides them.

Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis because the latter was not sufficiently "respectful" towards a white man. The legal decision exists separate and apart from that basic fact.

Dunn is not alone in his distaste for "arrogant" negroes. History echoes.

Continuing with the 1924 murder trial of Lem Motlow:
Motlow testified that Wallis was arrogant. Using a racial slur, he said Wallis grabbed him by the throat. “I reached for my pistol,” Motlow said, “then somebody grabbed my hand from behind, and the pistol accidentally discharged twice.” 
During closing arguments, Frank Bond, a defense lawyer from Nashville, repeatedly used racial slurs and said, “There are two kinds of (blacks) in the South. There are those who know their place ... and those who have ambitions for racial equality. ... In such a class falls Wallis, the race reformer, the man who would be socially equal to you all, gentlemen of the jury.” 
Circuit Attorney Howard Sidener said, “This is not a case of North and South. ... This is a case of murder.” But the 12 white gentlemen quickly voted to acquit on Dec. 10. Said foreman Frederick Smith, “We didn’t believe the Negro.” Jurors shook hands with Motlow.
"Arrogant" and "uppity" black Americans continue to face sanctions and discipline at the hands of white people in post civil rights America. Michael Dunn's murder of Jordan Davis, and the jury's acquittal on that count, is a reminder of that social norm.

Stand Your Ground laws are but one more example of those practices--the legalese sounds much nicer and palatable than the raw truth that black people must always be compliant when faced with White Authority.


sonny scroggins said...

FEBRUARY 16, 2014: DAY OF ACTION_A Million Hoodies Call For Music Turned Up For Jordan Davis_UN!

I Challenge my Generation to Inspire Future Generations.

Yours in Christ, Sonny Scroggins

OldPolarBear said...

It makes me very nervous that the jury is taking so long to deliberate on this. WTF can they be trying to figure out? What could they even be thinking about? I don't think they should have had to even leave the jury box after the closing arguments but rather just kind of exchange glances and nod to each other, "Um ... do we really need to go to the jury room guys? ... Hell no, [in unison] GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY!"

Myshkin the Idiot said...

this was harrowing and excellent. good night folks at WARN.

kscoyote said...

Why am I not surprised to find fellow Topekan Sonny Scroggins here?

Learning Is Eternal said...

What are your predictions, CDV?

chauncey devega said...

Who knows? Expect the worst.

chauncey devega said...

Don't think too hard. Black person killed by a white person? Immediate benefit of the doubt above and beyond.

wisconsinreader70 said...

The basis for and existence of a law like "stand your ground" can only be rooted in irrational fear - by conservative older white people - of those unlike themselves in one way or another. . . (I'm a 72 year old Liberal white male). . . Assuming the best - that this jury is struggling with what this new "law" means and implies - the result still should be - based upon the testimony of the shooter's companion - a verdict of guilty.

kokanee said...

I'm on pins and needles waiting for the jury to finish deliberating. If this guy is found not guilty in any way it will be another dark day for America. Why the prosecution didn't seek the death penalty (which I'm 100% against, btw) is beyond me.

kokanee said...

The way I understand it, the stand your ground defense usually applies only if one didn't create the situation in the first place.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I get the sense that certain segments of our society enjoy the idea of people going out of their way to make a confrontation that could result in something like this. Taking law and order in your own hands, except it promotes chaos and anarchy.

Why can't we just be strangers? Why does a Michael Dunn have to assert his sense of self-importance and demand a radio be turned down instead of getting out of his car and going into the store to avoid the loud music?

I was listening to NPR for a moment and they were talking about Libya. Apparently there is no military or police apparatus. Problems are settled between opposing militia groups with unwarranted violence.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

probably because it wasn't premeditated. He didn't plan out a murder but he did have the means to kill and began a confrontation with people he felt he already had a reason to fear violence from.

Miles_Ellison said...

They're thinking about whether or not they can face their friends and neighbors if they violate one of the fundamental tenets of white supremacist orthodoxy. White men who kill black people aren't supposed to even go to trial, let alone jail.

kokanee said...

The charge was first degree murder so yes the prosecution could and should have sought the death penalty. Incidentally, prosecution originally sought only second degree murder. Here's an update:
Judge Russell Healey said questions posed by the 12-member jury early Saturday indicated they believed Dunn was not guilty of first-degree murder, and was justified in using deadly force to defend himself from Davis. --

Veri1138 said...

I wish I had the link.

Not necessarily. There was a case where one man initiated a confrontation, the other person threatened bodily harm after a verbal exchange, the aggressor walked back to his vehicle, grabbed a weapon and killed the man.

Stand your ground defense was successful as the aggressor initiated a verbal confrontation that provoked the other into verbal affirmation of bodily harm.

In other words, insult a person by denigrating them enough, be threatened with bodily harm = Stand Your Ground Murder.

kokanee said...

I'm there.

kokanee said...

Re (me): "The way I understand it, the stand your ground defense usually applies
only if one didn't create the situation in the first place."

It depends on the state. Each state has its own laws.

Frank said...

The verdict is in. In Florida, murder is not murder, it's only attempted murder if the victim is a black kid.,0,2940850.story


kokanee said...

"I get the sense that certain segments of our society enjoy the idea of people going out of their way to make a confrontation that could result
in something like this."

Yes, absolutely.

"Why does a Michael Dunn have to assert his sense of self-importance and demand a radio be turned down instead of getting out of his car and going into the store to avoid the loud music?"

We know why he demanded deference from the 4 kids.

"I was listening to NPR for a moment and they were talking about Libya. Apparently there is no military or police apparatus. Problems are settled between opposing militia groups with unwarranted violence."

The return of the Wild Wild West coming to America?

Learning Is Eternal said...

But Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, pressed the self-defense claim and argued that Dunn had a right to shoot if he reasonably thought he was in danger.  ”We understand Jordan Davis was human and this was a tragedy,” Strolla said. The attorney added later, “Deadly force is justifiable if Dunn reasonably believed he faced an attempted murder of himself or another.”

So... They convicted dunn on 4/5 counts & faces upwards of 75yrs. I couldn't smile or feel relief @the news/verdict. This maybe totals out @ 0.000000001% of justice for colored folk here in Amurr'klan.

Something told me they'd convict but only as a ruse. "See, no racism here. We did the right thing."

Florida (gov't/law) takes another L.

Learning Is Eternal said...

Florida (gov't/law) takes another L for STILL not being able to convict on a clear murder w/racist reasoning.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

The only solace I take from it is the fact that there was at least one juror who was convinced Dunn was bullshitting. They were hung on the first degree charge so someone was not accepting his 'reasonable fear' argument.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

A while back I was talking with a white man on facebook who seemed like your average conservative. He shared this photoshop by Dixon Diaz of a black guy pointing a gun at the viewer wearing a bandanna and baggy clothes. The caption read, "Better not fight back, dat would be child abuse."

He shared it during the Zimmerman trial and it basically made me want to vomit. I have severed ties with him, that shit is sickening. Dixon Diaz is a POS conservative cartoonist.

Veri1138 said...

True, though the jury ultimately decides.

Buddy H said...

I just saw this on the Crooks And Liars blog:

"Charles Hendrix, Michael Dunn's former next-door neighbor, describes violent behavior, lies, insurance fraud, cocaine use, bragging about putting a hit out on someone, and a first wife who said he'd held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her. He says Dunn bragged that he was smarter than everyone else and could outthink them."

kokanee said...

We need a nationwide push to repeal all stand your ground laws --it's plain to see that they are completely racist and their application is far beyond what is actually written.

kokanee said...

Diaz is a dick. I've seen far too many of his comics.

kokanee said...

Wow. No surprise actually. If it were a rape trial, the defendant's past would have been on trial. Now that this information is out, Dunn's lawyers will argue that he cannot get a fair trial. Oh, the hypocrisy of our judicial system and the white male privilege that goes with it.

skilletblonde said...

Thank you for the information, Buddy. I'm posting a link to video and article:

kokanee said...

"I get the sense that certain segments of our society enjoy the idea of
people going out of their way to make a confrontation that could result
in something like this."

You have to see this:
Shocking Interview With Michael Dunn's Neighbor: 'He Always Wanted To Shoot Somebody'

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I'll try to watch later.

Meanwhile, "Even as he sat next to me, he asked, how is this happening," -
Dunn in disbelief after conviction

kokanee said...

He thought he could completely beat the system. From the interview above, he profiles as a complete psychopath:

1. glib and superficial charm
2. grandiosity
3. need for stimulation
4. pathological lying
5. cunning and manipulating,
6. lack of remorse
7. callousness
8. poor behavioral controls
9. impulsiveness
10. irresponsibility
11. denial
12. parasitic lifestyle
13. sexual promiscuity
14. early behavior problems
15. lack of realistic long-term goals
16. failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17. many short-term marital relationships
18. juvenile delinquency
19. revocation of conditional release
20. criminal versatility

Gable1111 said...

You know what's going on with the whites on that jury. There is no such thing as an unarmed black person. All blacks are "armed" by virtue of their being black. Was the case with Martin, the woman shot on that porch in Detroit, the former ball player killed in NC, and practically every other unarmed black person shot and killed by whites. Remember Amadou Diallo, killed by "fearful" white cops with a volley of 41 shots, 19 of which struck him? They were acquitted because the jury found their fears justified. Blackness is the threat. Same with Martin -- ludicrously, he was accused of using the sidewalk he was standing on "as a weapon."

In that jury room its a war of racism/insanity vs. common sense and a modicum of justice. Jurors holding out for con

Gable1111 said...

That's the other thing that's effed up about SYG. The shooter is automatically given the benefit of the doubt, as to how he "felt." Of course, the victim is not around to tell his side of the tale, as was the case in the Martin trial. Here we have many other witnesses, however the key witnesses are black, and white juries NEVER gives equal credence to testimony from black witnesses, if that testimony disputes the official account, and now, as in this case, the account of the one claiming SYG as a defense. In short, you have to believe Dunn when he said he thought he saw a gun, even though no gun was found, and then assume, Dunn is simply not telling the truth rather than being "mistaken."

Gable1111 said...

That cretin has been found guilty on three second degree attempted murder charges, each one carrying a maximum 15 year penalty. The judge has a wide discretion here. He can sentence him to the max on all three, and make the sentences run consecutively, in which case he's looking at 45 years. Or he can make them run concurrently, in which case the MAXIMUM time he'll do is 15 years. I say max because states usually give credits towards early release. Whatever happens, the convictions on attempted 2nd degree murder will stand.

The judge can also go the other way and sentence him to less than the max, including time served, since he stayed in jail until the trial. So this is far from over yet.

I had read that "the greatest prosecutor of all time" Angela Corey has said she will retry him on 1st degree murder if the jury hangs.

And my lack of trust in Corey is based in the fact that, she couldn't get a jury to convict Zimmerman on anything, and yet she was like Inspector Javert going after Jean Valjean in Les Miserables when it came to Melissa Alexander,

and securing a 20 year sentence for attempted murder in her case for firing an effing warning shot! If she got that for firing a warning shot, and this Dunn devil got convicted on three counts of the same thing, in which one, I need to see more from Corey if I am to not entertain the thought that white supremacy et al doesn't inform and influence that office as well.

kokanee said...

Right. A white person is assumed to be innocent because it's "normal" to be fearful of a black person - no matter what size, age or sex. But not the other way around. Even the fact that he didn't hit the other three kids doesn't mean it shouldn't have been attempted first degree murder. Dunn, a psychopath IMHO, got the benefit of the doubt on that one too.

SYG laws have to be repealed. The new Jim Crow is in full swing: SYG laws, racial profiling, stop and frisk, school to prison pipeline and the systematic dismantling of the social safety net. F#£k this s€{t.

kokanee said...

Minimum 20 year sentences on the 3 second degree murder charges. Maximum 15 year sentence on the shooting into an occupied vehicle. Hopefully, none of the sentences are concurrent. And I'd still like to see Dunn convicted of first degree murder of Jordan Davis in a retrial. Showing a lack of remorse, Dunn is appealing.

Marissa Alexander's retrial starts on July 28.

OldPolarBear said...

That situation in Libya is exactly what our libertarian moonbats want. Somalia sounds pretty much the same. Imagine conditions like that, but basically being the norm across essentially the entire continent of North America (Mexico and Canada will not be able to escape this influence if things get bad enough).

OldPolarBear said...

Yes, this. I suppose I can say I am a tiny bit relieved that he did not walk away from this entirely. But he will probably appeal, and even if the conviction stands, the judge probably has some sentencing discretion. Especially If he imposes concurrent sentences, the sociopathic fk Dunn might see the light of day.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

Some places in Mexico citizens have formed militias to combat the drug trade and corruption, however the federal government cracks down on them for trying to solve their problems with crime themselves. There is possibly a way to go about it, but the kind I think would spring up in America is not something I would want. It would basically be a resurfacing of the KKK and other white nationalist militias.

Learning Is Eternal said...

Hopefully by then he's not able to make a life for himself (financially) as Jordan's dreams were crushed in formation...

Somebody please take the blindfold off the B (nice). She can't see whom she's hurting the most.
She's (justice) light handed on racist murderers & non-white individuals never stand a chance on the other hand.

Those scales need calibration.

Veri1138 said...

I prefer the standard of 'bodily harm is imminent' as in the other person has drawn a weapon without just cause or a fist has been thrown.

Then add in the death penalty or life sentence as mandatory for those who claim, stand your ground as a defence yet are clearly not.

Make it where people have to have a weapon on them, are being physically assaulted, or a weapon has been drawn on them. Imminent danger of loss of life or limb.

None of this bullshit about protecting property or being verbally threatened. There are already laws on the books for these crimes. Well, unless a person is trying to burn your house down or the burglar is in your home.

Stand your ground gave permissive excuse for murder when adequate laws already existed. The only issue is of objection is when one uses a deadlier weapon - for instance, using a gun against a knife-wielding assailant, could - in some jurisdictions - send one to prison. Which, personally, I think is bullshit.

Then again, I favor convicting people of murder who purposely leave a weapon lying around, that is used in "accidental" shootings. Or homeowners who kill their kid after mistaking them for a burglar. Firearms insurance. Bi-annual weapons training using harsh criteria to purposely fail would-be gun owners who are idiots, along with stringent psyc testing. Requiring safes in homes. Denying or restricting the possession or use of a firearm in a home with a mentally disabled person - why did the Newtown school shooters mother teach her autistic son how to shoot? Because she is an idiot that should have never been allowed to possess firearms.

And many other regulations.

kokanee said...

All good suggestions for gun regulation. And, of course, one has the right to defend oneself. But SYG laws go beyond that. SYG means that you have no legal obligation to retreat from a dangerous situation if it is safe to do so.

These nut jobs put themselves into a situation, call it dangerous and then murder innocent people. These laws are indefensible.

Add racism to the mix and you get:
This is evident in the racialized impact of Stand Your Ground laws, which have disproportionately authorized the murder of black citizens. A study released in August of this year by the Urban Institute reported that prior to the introduction of Stand your Ground laws, some 9% of white-on-black shootings were considered justified. Since 2005, in states that have adopted SYG laws, 17% of white-on-black shootings were adjudged justified. This compares to only 1% of black-on-white shootings in the same places. Indeed, Florida-based statistics presented by the Tampa Bay Times show 73% of those individuals killing a black person walked away with no penalty. This compares to 59% of those killing a white person. Per recent studies on SYG laws featured in Mother Jones,
“The greatest determining factor in whether your SYG claim will hold up is the race of the victim…homicides were ‘justifiable’ in 49 percent of cases in which a white man shot a black man compared to just 8 percent of cases in which the roles were reversed”.—

E.C. 2 said...

Had this case involved an armed black man who shot into a car full of white teenage boys, killing one of them, the armed black man would have been shot dead on the scene by the police and by the armed white "male" "citizens" of Florida, and that INCLUDES Dunn the racist, who would have been the FIRST racist white "male" "citizen" to shoot the armed black man dead! That's because owning guns and self-defense are both for WHITE MEN only!

TheLaw said...

Very well written article, however there is one set of statements that are inaccurate. The jury did not find Dunn not guilty of the murder of Jordan Davis; they were unable to reach a verdict on that count. When a person is found not guilty, they are forever free from bring tried on that charge. This is not the case with Dunn. The jury was unable to reach a "unanimous" verdict which means the State, by law, has the ability to try him again on that count alone. So what will happen is that another jury of 12 people will be selected to hear the evidence on the one charge which is the murder of Jordan Davis. A judge will instruct that jury and they will deliberate Dunn' s fate once again.

However, the fact that they were unable to reach a verdict on the murder charge is very disturbing and speak volumes in and of itself. I fear not only for my son, but the millions of young black and brown men in this country who dare to defy or disrespect, in their mind, a white man. The non-verdict says that white man is allowed to shoot and kill that young man and claim self defense because he, meaning the young black/brown man, didn't bow down to the white man's self-perceived authority.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

thanks for sharing that link and encouraging me to watch.

His belief system reminds me of our trolling friends. I read about this study this morning.

"The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others)."

kokanee said...

Interesting article.

This was disturbing:
What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

yeah, hahah I try to check myself on my internet time as well as keep my personality straight. I mostly comment here because Chauncey usually asks thought provoking questions or brings up important issues and presents contemporary politics in a way that is consistent with how I view them.

kokanee said...

Re: "I mostly comment here because Chauncey ... brings up important issues and presents contemporary politics in a way that is consistent with how I view them."
That's called "confirmation bias."

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I'm aware of what confirmation bias is. I keep it in mind and I am open to listening to new information, but I am generally unwilling to compromise my position on racism in America, which is what draws me here in the first place.

kokanee said...

Strongly agree.

MaMu1977 said...

You're wrong on one count.

White people aren't threatened by black success. If this were true, sports would have never been desegregated and Oprah would have achieved her grandmother's dream of becoming a maid for some "good white people".
White peoplw aren't threatened by black genius. "They" have no issues with piggybacking off of anyone's discoveries, regardless of background. And even the standard arch-conservative has no problem with tipping a metaphorical hat to Tyson, Sowell or (insert trendy black intellectual here.)
And as long as the dignity involves forebearance and humility, white people aren't even threatened by that (Kobe Bryant versus Tim Duncan, anyone?)

No, what white people are most threatened by is black competence. Competence is what makes the bigots (at any level of severity) stare at the ceiling at night. Dignity, genius, success; those words imply exceptionalism, and exceptionalism is always tempered with rarity. Anyone from any background can have enough skill or couth or luck to rise above. Shaquille O'neal and Robert Johnson will always be seen as "credits to their race", trust, in the same way that a Keni Styles (Asian male porn star) and Apolo Ono (gold medalist Olympian) are seen as "exceptions" to the "unathletic with small dicks" stereotype. White people love those examples because they serve as exceptions to the rule(s)-"Blacks are just strong and dumb, Asians are weak and docile but smart. Sure, {insert name here} performed the first successful heart transplant and {insert name here} knocked out three guys who were yelling racial slurs at him in Chinatown, but the rest of them are all the same".

More said later, this was typed on my mobile and id ratgher the battery not die.