Florida Times-Union columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee, writing for CNN, says that the Jordan Davis verdict is a major setback for civil rights, even as the convictions on the attempted murder charges ensure he’ll be in jail the rest of his life:
Apparently someone on the Dunn jury—a jury that took four days to deadlock on whether Dunn was justified in killing Davis—believed that Davis’ cursing at Dunn and arguing over the volume of his music equaled a serious enough threat to make Dunn reasonably fear for his life.
Someone on that jury saw Davis with a shotgun that likely never existed, but didn’t see the real bullets—10 in all—that Dunn pumped into the SUV and into Davis’ body, bullets that left Davis bleeding and dying in his friend’s lap.
It’s hollow because it underscores what seems to be a scary trend. I guess now any random white man can confront a black teenager whose style of dress or music he doesn’t like or views as suspect. And when that teenager doesn’t submit to him, or responds to him in a confrontational manner, or in a way that any rebellious teenager is apt to respond, then it’s perfectly fine to exterminate him.
Another take on the verdict worth reading, this one from The Root’s Stephen A. Crockett Jr., argues that the “thug subculture” discussed by Michael Dunn’s defense lawyers during the case shouldn’t refer to Davis and his friends, as the lawyers imply, but to men like George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn. “He kept it G after his drive-by right up till the police contacted him, and even then he expressed no remorse for the shooting,” Crockett wrote of Dunn. “Gangsta.”
18:41 // 5 months ago
A Florida woman who appeared on several national television programs as a teen because of her uncontrollable hiccupping went on trial on a murder charge on Tuesday.
Prosecutors and attorneys for Jennifer Mee began selecting a jury in a Pinellas County courtroom. Judge Nancy Moate Ley told potential jurors that the trial would probably wrap up by the end of the week.
Mee, who is 22, suffered from prolonged hiccups of up to 50 a minute in 2007. Videos of her hiccuping gained her national attention, as did her attempts to quell the problem. She tried home remedies and consulted medical specialists, a hypnotist and an acupuncturist, until the hiccups finally stopped on their own. She appeared on several TV shows and while on theToday show, was hugged by fellow guest and country music star Keith Urban.
Posting this here because it’s sad and unfortunate and we’re not sure what else to do with it. There’s a lot to parse here—among other things, Mee reportedly has Tourette’s Syndrome, which her lawyer says caused the hiccups, and she may have been a bystander in the shooting, which stemmed from a robbery of a 22-year-old Wal-Mart employee by two of her friends which went deadly.
19:49 // 10 months ago
Shellie Zimmerman claims her estranged husband, George Zimmerman, broke into pieces an iPad she used to record video of their confrontation Monday afternoon, Officer Zach Hudson of the Lake Mary (Fla.) Police Department told The Huffington Post.
“That iPad is in half a dozen pieces at this point,” Hudson said. The remains of the device have been sent to a lab where technicians will attempt to extract the video Shellie Zimmerman recorded and any other potential evidence that might be stored on it.
Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell told HuffPost on Monday that, as of then, the authorities did not have enough evidence to charge George Zimmerman with a crime. The iPad could potentially change that equation.
George Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, has denied any wrongdoing on behalf of his client, telling Anderson Cooper that the only time George made contact with his weapon during the dispute was to ensure it didn’t shift after he felt he was forced to retreat from his estranged wife’s father.
17:48 // 10 months ago
Florida has executed a schizophrenic man who believed that he was the immortal prince of God vested with superhuman powers including an ability to control the sun, despite the US constitution’s prohibition against putting mentally ill people to death.
John Ferguson, 65, was killed by lethal injection at 6pm on Monday. Earlier in the evening the US supreme court declined to hear a final petition from his lawyers. Although there was overwhelming evidence that the court’s own interpretation of the US constitution was being disregarded, the justices gave no explanation for their decision to remain on the sidelines and allow the killing to go ahead.
Many SFB readers took a moment to note their support of Ferguson’s execution when we posted the story yesterday afternoon. Anybody think Florida shouldn’t have been allowed to go forward with the execution and/or that the U.S. Supreme Court should have weighed-in on the case?
18:40 // 11 months ago
Florida is preparing to execute a schizophrenic man who believes that he is the immortal prince of God vested with superhuman powers that include an ability to control the sun, despite the US constitution’s prohibition against putting mentally ill people to death.
John Ferguson, 65, will be killed by lethal injection at 6pm on Monday unless his lawyers can convince the US supreme court to intervene. Ferguson’s legal team, backed by a raft of prominent legal and mental health organisations, are appealing on the nation’s highest legal panel to step in on grounds that the execution would be a flagrant violation of the Eighth Amendment of the US constitution that bars “cruel and unusual punishment”.
There is apparently no doubt that Ferguson was involved in the killing of eight people, over the span of several months, nearly 40 years ago; however, there also appears to be zero doubt of the man’s mental stability (or lack thereof). Not only have 30 different doctors confirmed Ferguson’s various diagnoses, beginning with confirmation of visual hallucinations by a prison doctor in 1965, but the convicted killer currently believes his execution to be a state-sponsored conspiracy to prevent him from using superpowers he derives from the sun.
14:55 // 11 months ago