About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

February 19th, 2014
06:26 PM ET

Race's role in the Michael Dunn verdict

(CNN) – It's a case that has once again put issues of race and self defense in the national spotlight, and reaction to the verdict handed down in a Florida courtroom has ranged from outrage to confusion.

One of the jurors who convicted Michael Dunn of attempted murder after he fired into an SUV during a fatal argument believes he should have been convicted of first-degree murder.

"I believed he was guilty," Valerie said in an interview with ABC's "Nightline" early Wednesday. Also known as Juror No. 4, she asked that her full name not be given in order to protect her identity.

Dunn admits he shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis after a dispute over loud music at a Jacksonville gas station.

Dunn says he asked the teen and his friends to turn down their rap music. Then he says they threatened him, and Davis pulled out a gun, so he shot the teen to protect himself. But there was never any evidence Davis or his friends had a weapon.

Jurors couldn't agree on whether the teen was shot in self defense. But they did find Dunn guilty on attempted second degree murder charges for shooting at Davis' friends as they tried to get away.

It took four days for jurors to reach their verdict.

Juror No. 4 says the case was never presented as one about race.

"When you have a case where you have a black, teenage male victim, and a white male, middle-aged defendant, and the fight is over loud rap music, it's all about race," says Georgetown law professor and former prosecutor Paul Butler.

"The prosecutor ignored that at her peril," says Butler. "You have to humanize the victim, especially, again, when it's a young black man."

For more of our interview with law professor Paul Butler, check out the video above.

soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.