A Florida white man who tried to run over six Black men after spewing racist slurs at the group was sentenced to only one year in prison on Thursday, far less time than what the Justice Department pursued.
According to The Gainesville Sun, David Allen Emanuel was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in federal prison on six counts of hate crimes after attempting to run over Marvin Dunn, his son and four other Black men on September 6, 2022. The Justice Department had pursued a more “substantial” prison term of between five and six years behind bars.
Dunn, who is a Florida historian, and the other Black men, were surveying Dunn’s Rosewood property, scouting land to build a memorial for the 1923 Rosewood massacre.
According to DOJ, evidence during the July 26 trial proved that after Emanuel found the men surveying land, he shouted racial slurs and expletives at them, including, “f—-ing n——r,” telling the men to “get out of these woods” before driving a pickup truck directly at the group, nearly striking one of them.
During the trial, a witness also testified that Emanuel admitted that he “came at those [expletives],” and that he “would have [expletive]d up all those Black [expletive].” Another witness testified that the defendant came “within inches” of striking one of the victims and that one victim, “nearly lost his life that day.”
Although sentencing seemed light for a man charged with six counts of hate crimes, the DOJ stressed in a press release that there was no place for racially motivated hate crimes in America.
“Racially-motivated hate crimes run contrary to our values as Americans and simply have no place in our society today,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This defendant violently and callously sought to strike a group of Black men with his truck because of their race. As we mark 100 years since the horrific 1923 Rosewood Massacre, the Justice Department stands resolute in its commitment to holding accountable those who commit violent racially-motivated hate crimes in our country.”
Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks of the FBI Jacksonville Field Office also condemned the racist attack.
“There is no place for hate and racism in this community,” said Onks.” No one should ever fear they could be targeted in an act of violence based on how they look, where they’re from or any part of their identity. Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim; they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community, and because of their wide-ranging impact, investigating hate crimes is among the FBI’s highest priorities. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to seek justice for victims and their communities.”
In a letter submitted last week to the judge, Marvin Dunn asked the court to show Emanual mercy during sentencing, which could have helped lead to his lenient sentence.
“For me, my faith requires forgiveness, and so I must,” Dunn wrote. “[Race] is the thorn in our collective side, the unmovable rock in our common path. For America to become whole, the thorns and rocks must be removed. The victims in this case are hopeful that in our plea for mercy for Mr. Emanuel and his family, we are taking an important step toward the goal of removing these obstacles to healing.”
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