“When I get to the hospital… he appears to be sleeping,” says Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis. His voice breaks. Jordan’s mother, Lucia McBath, tries to speak, but her tears overpower her words. “We were supposed to protect him,” she manages to say.
Jordan Davis’ life, and death, is the subject of 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets, a new HBO documentary which painstakingly deconstructs the case of Michael Dunn, the middle-aged White man who killed the 17-year-old at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida on November 23, 2012.
Directed by Marc Silver, the documentary reveals candid footage of the Davis-Dunn court case, from eyewitness testimonies by Jordan’s friends and home video clips of Jordan’s life before the tragedy. Dunn, a software developer, had a disdain for rap music. Shortly before firing 10 shots into the car Davis and his three friends were in, Dunn told his girlfriend, “I hate that thug music.” In footage from police interrogations, he asserts that Davis had a weapon.
“Could it have been your imagination?” a detective asks him. “No,” replies Dunn. “I mean anything’s possible, I guess.”
In a prison interview Dunn, who is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, tells filmmakers he’s not racist. “They’re racists,” he says.
At a recent screening at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jordan’s parents sat on a panel discussion moderated by author Jelani Cobb.
“If we say in this country that we are one nation under God, then we all have a moral responsibility to one another,” his mother said. “So we hope that through this film, we would be able to usher in social change.”
“Knowing that people all over the nation have been praying for us… I know those prayers are what has kept me afloat,” she continued. “That has been key…in being able to go out there everyday and to challenge the system and to challenge the laws and to challenge the sense of racism and implicit bias.”
Ron continued, “Jordan was killed on Black Friday [in] 2012. I’m asking everyone to talk to your neighbors, talk to your family members [and tell them] that the only freedom we have is economic freedom. I say we boycott Black Friday. See what your economic power could do.”
3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets premieres tonight at 9pm ET on HBO.