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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Rosewood man sentenced to a year in prison for hate-crime charges

Decision comes 100 years after the town’s racial massacre

<p>Pictured is the U.S. Federal Building &amp; Courthouse where David Emanuel was sentenced to prison Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.</p>

Pictured is the U.S. Federal Building & Courthouse where David Emanuel was sentenced to prison Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor sentenced David Emanuel to 12 months and a day in federal prison Thursday for an attack against six Black men in Rosewood in 2022.

Emanuel was convicted on six federal hate-crime counts in July for the racially motivated attack.

On Sept. 6, 2022, Emanuel, a white 62-year-old clam farmer and Rosewood resident, drove his pickup truck toward six Black men after they had parked near his property on a public street. Among the group was Marvin Dunn, an 83-year-old Miami resident and historian, who owns property across the street from Emanuel.

Dunn wants to be done with the situation, he said. He decided to tell the courtroom his feelings on the situation and move on.

“I’d like to feel comfortable on my own property, and I don't right now because of this,” Dunn said after the hearing. “I'd like to live in peace.”

During the sentencing, Dunn read a letter to the courtroom, asking the judge to give Emanuel mercy. Racism is the country’s “most indigestible problem,” he added.

“It is the lump in our collective throat, the thorn in our collective side, the unmovable rock in our common path,” he said. “For America to become whole, the lumps, thorns and rocks must be removed.”

Through the Miami Center for Racial Justice, Dunn, who is also a Florida International University professor, gives tours of cities significant to Black history, like Rosewood. Highway patrolmen have been present at his Rosewood tours since Emanuel’s attack, Dunn said.

Emanuel’s sentencing comes roughly a century after the January 1923 Rosewood massacre, which left more than 100 Black people dead after a mob of more than 200 white men attacked the predominantly Black town.

The sentencing took place at 12:30 p.m. at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Winsor took Emanuel’s mental health history, lack of criminal record and written statements from witnesses, family and friends into consideration for the sentencing, he said.

Kaitlin Weiss, who represented the U.S. in the case, said sentencing Emanuel to prison time would show others that racially motivated attacks have consequences.

“We don’t tolerate these acts in these districts,” she said.

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Rather than prison time, Emanuel’s attorney, Darren Johnson, advocated for probation for his client. Johnson argued in court that the attack did not cause enough harm to prove Emanuel deserves a prison sentence. 

Emanuel made one comment to the courtroom.

“I would like to apologize to Mr. Dunn,” he said with his face turned to Dunn.

Six people, including friends and family, provided testimony to the judge on behalf of Emanuel and 37 people submitted written statements in support of his character.

The underlying message of the statements was Emanuel was committed to helping others, Johnson said.

Emanuel and his family members declined to comment on the sentencing. 

Dunn plans to continue giving tours to high school students and families during his Teach the Truth tours and to K-12 students during his Teach No Lies tour in Rosewood. 

Despite the country’s challenging history with racial divisions, he said he is focusing on peace and forgiveness in the face of Emanuel’s actions.

“I also did it because at this moment in our history, it’s good to show reconciliation,” Dunn said, “It’s good to show a reach for peace, even if it’s not successful.”

Emanuel’s state charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill is still pending.

Contact Sophia Bailly at Follow her on Twitter @sophia_bailly.

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Sophia Bailly

Sophia Bailly is a second-year journalism major and covers politics for the enterprise desk. Some of her favorite things include The Beatles, croissants and Agatha Christie books. When she's not writing stories she's either reading or going for a run.

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