by The People’s Minister of Information JR
“3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” is a documentary about the murder of Black unarmed 17-year-old Jordan Russell Davis in 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida, and the trial of his white vigilante killer Michael Dunn. In this film by Marc Silver, the story is told through interviews with family and friends, as well as court testimony and the prison phone calls of Michael Dunn to his wife.
For those who don’t know much about the story, this should have been called the “white privilege versus loud music case.” The story goes that Michael Dunn and a carload of Jordan Davis and his friends both pulled up to a gas station on South Side Boulevard and Bay Meadows in Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 23, 2012. Jordan and his crew came to get some gas and Dunn and his fiancé came to get some wine, after already consuming three or four glasses of rum and coke.
Michael Dunn was irritated by the loud music coming out of the car that Jordan was riding in, so he told the teenagers to turn it down. Most complied, but Jordan turned it back up, defying the white man, Michael Dunn’s order. Right before the encounter, Dunn told his fiancé, “I hate that thug music.” While inside his car, he claimed to hear the Black youth, through their music, call him a cracker and say, “I should fucking kill that motherfucker.”
Dunn told his fiancé, “I hate that thug music.”
Dunn says he responded by saying, “Are you talking to me?” Then he reached into his glove compartment, got his gun, cocked it and let off close to a dozen shots into the door of the car facing him that contained Jordan and his friends, still at the gas station. After the incident, in a phone call to his fiancé, Dunn says, “I can’t even contemplate being found guilty and being sentenced to prison for life. It’s not possible.”
Michael Dunn’s original murder trial ended in a mistrial, and 11 months later he was tried again.
“I just can’t shake the notion that I’m the raped girl that they’re blaming because I was wearing skimpy clothes. I’m the victim that is being blamed,” claimed Dunn.
In the end, Michael Dunn was convicted of pre-meditated murder in the first degree, which holds a mandatory minimum sentence of life without parole, for the murder of Jordan Davis. And, for the attempted murder of Leland Brunson, Tevin Thompson and Tommie Stornes, he was sentenced to an additional 90 years. As one of the defense attorneys put it in the documentary, “Jordan Russell Davis is 17 forever.”
“There is something perversely wrong when a nation callously condones killing innocent people, and they think it’s their right because they have been empowered by a gun,” said Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, in the documentary.
There are a number of profound moments in this documentary where the viewer can see and smell the undercurrent of race and class in this case, although it is the elephant in the room that no one completely spells out. In looking at what has been happening with Ferguson and Baltimore in the last year, “3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” is a must see, because it is accurately depicting the human rights movement that Blacks in the U.S. are still engaged in after the turn of the millennium – to not be treated and nonchalantly killed like stray dogs.
“3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” is a must see, because it is accurately depicting the human rights movement that Blacks in the U.S. are still engaged in after the turn of the millennium – to not be treated and nonchalantly killed like stray dogs.
One radio caller phrased the issue perfectly from the perspective of white people from Jacksonville: “What can be done in Jacksonville to minimize the likelihood that there won’t be another shooting like the Michael Dunn shooting of Jordan Davis? Are we ever going to achieve racial justice, or are we going to act like a town who is one generation removed from the Ku Klux Klan?”
“3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” will be screening in the Bay July 24-30 at Presidio Theater in San Francisco and Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets – SFIFF58 Trailer from San Francisco Film Society on Vimeo.