No need to pinch yourself, it really is 2015. According to the Orlando Sentinel:
Two current and one former prison employee who all belonged to the KKK planned to kill a black inmate as he was released in retaliation for a fight, officials said Thursday.
The three men — Thomas Jordan Driver, 25, David Elliot Morgan, 47, and 42-year-old Charles Thomas Newcomb — each were arrested Thursday on one state count of conspiracy to commit murder, according to a statement from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office.
In light of this, you must remember that a record 346 inmates died in Florida prisons last year—including men and women who were gassed to death, burned to death, and beaten to death, all by staff. It can be hard to really believe that we are in 2015, but this is absolutely our new normal.
Dunn made national headlines in November 2012 after he approached a vehicle at a Jacksonville gas station that was playing loud rap music. Words were exchanged between Dunn and the teens inside and at some point the 47-year-old pulled out a gun and fired ten shots into the car, mortally wounding Davis, who was unarmed. The gunfire missed the other teens, who were also unarmed.
Dunn claimed he saw someone aim a gun from one of the car’s windows. Police found no weapon at the scene.
Following the shooting, Dunn and his girlfriend drove back to their nearby hotel and ordered pizza. The next day the couple drove 175 miles south of Jacksonville to Dunn’s home where he was later arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.
Dunn also reportedly described the teens he fired on as “thugs” and “gangsters” in his initial conversations with authorities about the incident.
The case also took on added significance since it came just months after former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
Both cases struck racial cords and spurred national protests and added to a string of killings of unarmed black men that prompted dialogue about the often deadly interactions between armed whites and unarmed black men especially.
Last summer Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges related to Martin’s death.
In February of this year, Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle. However, the judge declared a mistrial on the count of first-degree murder, which results in a retrial this month. The ruling angered many who saw the case as a slam-dunk, while discouraging others still in shock over the Zimmerman acquittal.
Dunn testified in his own defense, claiming that he feared for his life when he shot at Davis and his fellow passengers.
“He wasn’t shooting at the tires. He wasn’t shooting at the windows. He was shooting to kill, aiming at Jordan Davis,” prosecutor Erin Wolfson told jurors.
During court proceedings this week, Dunn told jurors reiterated what he’d said to law enforcement shortly after the shooting, that he saw a “very angry-looking young man” in the back seat, referring to Davis, who he said then raised a barrel of a gun to the window and threatened to kill him.
“I saw the barrel of a gun. I’m petrified. I’m in fear for my life. This guy just threatened to kill me — and he showed me a gun,” Dunn testified on the witness stand during his retrial, according to reports.
The jury on Wednesday deliberated for less than five hours on Wednesday, a stark contrast from the 30 hours the jury in Dunn’s original trial took to return its decision.
Dunn, 47, already faces at least 60 years in prison for his earlier convictions.
Following the hearing Davis’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucy McBath told reporters that the verdict was not just their family’s victory alone.
“We are very grateful that justice has been served, justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon and justice all the nameless, faceless children and people that will never have a voice,” Lucy McBath, Jordan’s mother said after the verdict. “And Ron and I are committed to giving our lives to walking out Jordan’s justice and Jordan’s legacy.”
“We know that Jordan’s life and legacy will live on for others,” McBath said.
Ron Davis said he found solace and reassurance in the verdict.
“I wanted Jacksonville to be a shining example that you can have a jury made up of mostly white people, white men and to be an example to the rest of the world to stop the discriminatory practices, stop discriminating, stop looking where we have to look at juries and say what the makeup of juries are,” he said.
The names of both Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis have been intoned in recent weeks as unrest continues in Ferguson, MO over the cop-killing of black teen Michael Brown. Like Martin and Davis before him, Brown was unarmed at the time of his killing.
The list of cases involving unarmed young black men killed by white men or law enforcement continues to grow, as do the protests demanding justice in their name.
“All across this nation, every time there is a trial between a victim that is black and someone that shot him that is white, we look at what is the make-up of the jury. Is the black victim going to be represented? Hopefully this is a start where we don’t have to look at the makeup of the jury anymore,” Ron Davis said. “All we can do is look at the case, look at the minds and the souls and the hearts of people, of human beings, not of skin color, but of human beings.”
A Florida man convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a teenager in an argument over loud music outside a Jacksonville convenience store was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole. The life sentence imposed by Circuit Judge Russell Healey was mandatory for 47-year-old Michael Dunn after prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.
TW: Transmisogyny, murder - Aniya Parker & the epidemic of violence against trans women of color October 7, 2014
Mourners in and around Los Angeles are remembering Aniya Parker, a 47-year-old transgender woman who was violently killed in East Hollywood last week.
Parker was fatally shot at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday during what police have reported as a robbery. Surveillance footage of Parker’s death has circulated widely across the Internet, showing two to four suspects surrounding her before one punches her and then shoots her in the head as she tries to flee.
Many observers aren’t buying the police’s assertion that Parker’s killing was the result of a robbery gone wrong. “This was not a robbery, in fact, they left the purse behind,” Mary Zeiser of Hollywood told ABC7 news. “This is a cold-blooded hate crime and this type of violence needs to end.”
Parker’s death is another example of what seems like nothing short of an epidemic of violence targeting transgender women of color. She’s is the eighth transgender woman of color to be killed since the beginning of June, according to the Anti-Violence Project. She’s also the second to be killed in Los Angeles in recent months; 28-year-old Zoraida Reyes’s body was found in a parking lot behind an Orange County Dairy Queen on June 12th. Transgender women of color face disproportionately higher rates of hate violence than other members of the LGBT community, according to researchers. In fact, a 2013 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that LGBT people of color were nearly twice as likely to experience physical violence than their white counterparts. Transgender women made up 67 percent of anti-LGBT homicides in 2013, according to the Anti-Violence Project.
This Jewel Beetle, found in the Messel Pit in Germany, is 47 million years old. It still has its shimmering coat. Both ancient and modern jewel beetles sport their iridescent exteriors thanks to the way different layers in their outer body coverings refract light.
‘Once Upon a Time’ casts Frances O'Connor as Belle’s mom
Once Upon a Time has tapped Frances O’Connor to play Belle’s mother in the upcoming fourth season, EW has learned exclusively.The 47-year-old actress will portray Colette, whom we’ll meet briefly in the sixth episode, but find out she had an immense impact on Belle’s life. There’s a possibility to see her again later in the season.
As EWfirst reported, Belle’s mom will be introduced through flashbacks. “For the first time, we’ll delve into Belle’s past pre-the encounter with Rumple,” executive producer Adam Horowitz says.
The Once casting marks a return to ABC for O’Connor, who previously starred on the short-lived Cashmere Mafia. Her other credits include Mansfield Park, Bedazzled and Mr. Selfridge.
Once Upon a Time returns Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.