What happens when justice fails to protect the very people it is meant to serve?
That is the ongoing question asked not only in 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets but in all of the recent events that have tragically struck our nation. The events of the Trayvon Martin case, the Eric Garner case and the Jordan Davis case, which is explored in the documentary, show that there are many flaws in our justice system. People are getting away with killing others and the law is not prosecuting them.
That’s exactly what director and screenwriter Marc Silver’s new documentary is about. Premiering on November 23 at 9 p.m. on HBO, the documentary revolves around the fatal shooting of Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida, by Michael Dunn. Davis was in a car with his friends Leland Brunson, Tommie Stornes, and Tevin Thompson. They were parked at the Gate Gas Station where Stornes went inside to buy gum and cigarettes. While they waited outside, they played loud music. Michael Dunn and his girlfriend Rhonda Rouer pulled up next to them and Rouer went inside to buy wine. While the next few details get foggy, it is 100% certain that neither Davis nor any of the boys had a gun or a weapon.
He asked the boys to turn down the music, and they obliged at first, but Davis said forget it and they turned it back up. Then shouting began between Dunn and Davis and Dunn pulled out his pistol and fired it ten times into the car the boys were in, all in a matter of seconds. Stornes, who was driving, had returned to the car and quickly backed up the car into a full loop, and when they had gotten back, Dunn, and Rouer, were gone. Dunn managed to hit and kill Davis as well as kept firing at the car after the presence of a threat was no longer there.
The original trial ended with a mistrial of Dunn committing Davis’ murder, but the jury found him guilty of the three other counts of attempted murder and guilty for firing a weapon in a public area. This caused outrage among Davis’ family and supporters, asking how they could convict him of attempted murder but believe that he was using the “stand your ground” law in killing Davis. The trail was eventually brought up once again where more testimony from Davis’ friends as well as Rouer finally led to Dunn’s conviction of first degree murder, where he is now in jail serving 90 years (for the attempted murder) on top of the life sentence for killing Davis.
The documentary goes into even more detail on the case and the situation around it. How could someone get away with murder? Davis’ family was interviewed in the film, shining a light on an unfortunate situation. How is it that playing loud music is grounds for killing a person? What if it were a black man shooting at four white teenagers, would that have led to a different (initial) trial? All of these questions were asked during the documentary. When it comes to stand your ground, it’s the shooter’s words against the dead man. And it just so happened this case had too many witnesses and lies to let Dunn get away with murder.
Watch the poignant documentary on HBO Monday night at 9 p.m., and you can catch the trailer below.