Man Found Guilty of Trying to Run Over Black Men at Historic Massacre Site

Photo: Bryngelzon / iStock / Getty Images

A Florida man who screamed the N-word and tried to run over a Black historian, his son, and four more victims has been found guilty of his crimes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. A jury in Gainesville convicted 62-year-old David Allen Emanuel for his racially-motivated attack against Dr. Marvin Dunn, his son Douglas Dunn, and other Black men on September 6, 2022.

Dr. Dunn, who’s a professor emeritus at the Florida International University, and others were standing on a public road near land he purchased in Rosewood when Emanuel started belting the insults and racial slurs at them. Dunn told Miami New Times at the time, “He went into a rage. Started screaming at us and calling us ‘n*****s.’”

The racist attack happened near a historic site dedicated to the victim of the 1923 Rosewood massacre, where the thriving Black community was destroyed by a huge white mob. January 5 this year marked the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

Prosecutors claim Emanuel not only threatened the Black men because of their race, but he also drove his pickup truck at the group. Dunn said Emanuel came close to striking his son before the suspect drove off. The man was arrested several days later after Dunn launched a social media campaign questioning why the Levy County Sheriff’s Office was dragging its feet on the investigation.

“Video evidence showed that after he was arrested, Emanuel complained that he was ‘getting treated like this [expletive] over a [expletive] [racial slur],'” per the DOJ’s release. “One witness testified that the defendant came ‘within inches’ of striking one of the victims and that one victim, ‘nearly lost his life that day.'”

Dunn, who’s the only Black person that owns land in Rosewood today, said he was planning on building a “peace center” focused on Florida’s racial history.

After two hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Emanuel of multiple counts, including willful intimidation, attempting to injure and intimidate with a vehicle “because of the victims’ race and color and because the victims were using a public facility.” Prosecutors said nobody was hurt in the attack.

“This defendant is being held accountable for intimidating a group of men and weaponizing his vehicle to attack them,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As we marked 100 years since the horrific 1923 Rosewood Massacre, this verdict should send a strong message that violent, racially motivated conduct will not be tolerated in our society.”

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