As Michael Dunn, the man who fatally shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis, prepares to use a Stand Your Ground defense in his first-degree murder trial, shocking statistics have emerged proving just how deadly the controversial legislation really is.
Davis is one of 26 children or teens to die under the Stand Your Ground law in Florida alone.
According to Think Progress:
Out of 134 fatal Florida cases analyzed by the Tampa Bay Times in which the Stand Your Ground defense was raised or played a role, 19 percent saw the deaths of children or teens. Another 14 involved victims were 20 or 21. And another 8 teens were injured in nonfatal cases. The Tampa Bay Times last updated its database last year, and there have likely been more such deaths since.
Stand Your Ground laws are in at least 20 states in the U.S. and authorize violence by individuals who perceive a “reasonable” imminent threat to their life, without any duty to attempt retreat.
In most cases, the legislation is used successfully. But in every case, someone is left dead. Here, Think Progress rounds up some of Florida’s youngest victims of Stand Your Ground:
- The youngest was nine-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins, who was killed in the crossfire of a dispute in which the defendant unsuccessfully raised the Stand Your Ground defense.
- 18-year-old Daniel Amore was stabbed to death by his 31-year-old legal guardian Kunta Grant, after Amore punched him during a dispute. Grant was given Stand Your Ground immunity by a judge.
- 19-year-old Christopher Araujo was shot by Norman Borden, who said “he was walking his dogs when three men in a Jeep shouted threats at him and warned they had bats as weapons. Borden went into his home and came back out armed. He told his friends to leave the area. The Jeep returned, and Borden said they tried to run him down. He pulled a gun and shot five times through the windshield, then nine more times after the Jeep hit a fence post and stopped.” A judge denied the Stand Your Ground motion, but Borden was acquitted by a jury of first-degree murder and other related charges.
- 18-year-old Carlos Mustelier was shot to death, after he and his 16-year-old friend approached Thomas Baker jogging, and one took a swing at him. Thomas responded “You wanna play games? You wanna play games?” and fired eight shots. The surviving teen said they planned to rob Baker, but neither was armed. A Hillsborough County prosecutor opted not to charge Baker.
- 19-year-old Christopher Cote was killed by his neighbor, after a dispute over walking his dog on his new neighbor’s property. When Cote came back, unarmed, to talk to 62-year-old Jose Tapones about the dispute, Tapones answered the door with a shotgun, stepped outside onto the lawn, and shot Cote twice. A judge declined to grant Tapones Stand Your Ground immunity during his first trial, but was granted a new trial and acquitted the second time around.
Because the law has had a particular effect on young people, mothers are usually on the front lines of repealing the “Kill at Will” legislation. Davis’ mother, Lucia McBath, has been one of those women. During a legislative hearing to repeal Florida’s law, she said:
“My grief is unbearable at times. I’m here as a face of the countless victims of gun violence.”
McBath is the spokeswoman for a gun reform group formed after the Sandy Hook Massacre, called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The group’s founder, Shannon Watts, pointed out that cases like Davis’ — involving a dispute over loud music — show how Stand Your Ground laws attempt to “normalize behavior that isn’t normal.”
“A teen who was playing loud music, which is what my teens do. That is sort of the attitude of the teenager,” Watts told ThinkProgress. “You don’t have the right to kill an innocent unarmed teen.”
To watch the Dunn trial, click here.
For more information on the shooting of Jordan Davis, click here.
SOURCE: Think Progress | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty