Man convicted in racially motivated attack at site of Rosewood massacre sentenced to 1 year in prison
David Emanuel Sr. backs out of his spot at the U.S. Federal Court House in Gainesville, Fla., after being sentenced to a total of six years and six days with two years of supervised release Oct. 19, 2023. (Gabriel Velasquez Neira/WUFT News)

101923 Rosewood Violence GVN 04
'I’m relieved this is all over with, and I think that it’s fair.'

A federal judge sentenced a White man convicted of attempting to run down six Black men at the site of the Rosewood massacre last year to a single year in prison Thursday.

David Allen Emanuel, 62, appeared solemn and reserved as Judge Allen Winsor delivered Emanuel’s sentence on six counts of hate crimes for attempting to run over Historian Marvin Dunn, his son and four other Black men who were surveying Dunn’s Rosewood property to build a memorial for the massacre.

Winsor sentenced Emanuel to 12 months plus one day in federal prison for each of the six charges and allowed the sentences to run concurrently. The Justice Department had sought a “substantial” prison term of between five and six years.

Emanuel, a retired clam farmer in Levy County in north-central Florida, must surrender to report to prison no later than noon on Jan. 2, the judge said. He was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release after he finished his prison term.

Prior to the attack in September 2022, Emanuel shouted racial slurs at the group from his white Ford F-250 — calling Dunn a “f***ing n****r” — and demanded the men leave the area.

After Dunn responded they were parked on a public road, Emanuel sped off only to return minutes later — his truck charging toward the group. Dunn’s son, Frederick Douglas Dunn, leaped into the grass, saving himself by mere inches. A jury convicted Emanuel over the summer.

“I’m relieved this is all over with, and I think that it’s fair,” Dunn said.

At the hearing Thursday, family and supporters of Emanuel filled the defense side of the lopsided courtroom. Muffled sobs emanated from some as the judge read the sentence.

“I do see he’s provided a lot of value to the community,” Winsor said. “I don’t think he’s going to do something like this again … but there’s a need for general deterrence, and it’s clear he did it because of race.”

Dunn, 83, and his son sat somber on the opposite side, flanked by a handful of others.

In an interview, the elder Dunn said the attack was the worst racial upheaval he’s experienced since the Civil Rights era, but he and his son drove from their homes in Miami with a message of forgiveness.

Dunn submitted a letter last week on behalf of the other victims to the judge requesting mercy be shown to Emanuel, not solely for him and his family, but to move on as a country.

“For me, my faith requires forgiveness, and so I must,” the letter read. “(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.”

When Dunn testified at trial, he was on the precipice of tears recounting how close Emanuel came to striking his son with his three-ton truck. But Dunn, a grandfather like Emanuel, stressed the impact a prison sentence would have on Emanuel’s family.

“I know how valuable those grandpa years are,” Dunn said after reading his letter to the judge. “I assure the court we can live in peace as neighbors. Someone must take the first step toward peace.”

While Winsor said he gave the letter much consideration, he felt probation would be an insufficient sentence as it doesn’t serve to deter others from committing similar crimes.

In addition to Dunn’s letter, more than 30 letters of support were submitted by Emanuel’s friends and family requesting a light sentence. There were also four advocates of Emanuel who addressed the court prior to sentencing.

Cedar Key Police Chief Edward Jenkins, a Black man, told the court that he’d never had any negative experiences with Emanuel during their many encounters.

The courtroom stifled with tension as the sentencing took over an hour to complete.

The defense argued that Emanuel has numerous health issues and that instead of prison he should be ordered to complete “some form of racial sensitivity training,” as punishment. He justified a light sentence by arguing that race had little to do with the incident, and that Emanuel’s attack was an isolated event.

“Race only became a factor after it began,” said Emanuel’s defense attorney, Darren James Johnson.

Winsor, appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2019, was insistent throughout the hearing that race was the proven motive for the attack.

“(Emanuel) didn’t think those people were about to commit a home invasion,” he said. “They had every right to be out there that day. He did it because of race.”

Outside court, Emanuel and roughly two-dozen of his supporters congregated around his truck — a white Ford F-250 donning a Confederate flag, the exact likeness of the vehicle used in the attack.

In an interview Monday, Emanuel said he plans to sell his house and move to another part of town to remain close to his son’s grave.

“I’m not living across from a Rosewood memorial that thousands of Black people are going to come to,” he said.

When the prosecution read that quote to the court, Dunn later said he was disheartened to hear it.

“I’d rather work with him as neighbors,” Dunn said.


This story was produced by Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. The reporter can be reached at [email protected]. You can donate to support our students here.

Fresh Take Florida


  • Dumber

    October 19, 2023 at 6:44 pm

    Not racial but he won’t live next to a cemetery where “thousands of black people are going to come”. Here the people he tried to kill have forgiveness and he just can’t do anything but hate

  • My Take

    October 19, 2023 at 7:06 pm

    One fewer Trump or DeSScamus voter.

  • My Take

    October 19, 2023 at 11:30 pm

    He’ll easily find some white power gang in prison to associate with.


    October 20, 2023 at 8:55 am

    The hate in the comments are as bad as the article. Not only is the article missing information but it”s also wrong. If you must stoke the fire please at least get it right. Mr Jenkins a (BLACK MAN) as the article reads instead of Chief of cedar key police, was there for David Emanuel not Dunn. All the 30 letters that were sent were not from Dunns supporters but from Mr Emauels.

    • ......

      October 20, 2023 at 12:11 pm

      Glad to see the misinformation has been corrected.

    • TJC

      October 23, 2023 at 3:48 pm

      Now, if a Black man had attempted to kill six white men, I suspect you’d be outraged by a sentence of one year in prison for six counts of attempted murder. Instead, you act as a cheerleader calling out the 30 letters for Emanuel, as if letters somehow overwrite the law.
      And icing on the cake, you complain about “The hate in the comments” here. Look up the word “irony” when you get a chance, or have a child explain it to you.

  • Boyd

    October 20, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    It would’ve been nice if the journalist would’ve actually done his due diligence in stating the facts correctly the first time. Instead, the mistakes had to be pointed out. Also, when the misinformation was finally corrected, there was no mention of it. The date of the corrections and the corrections themselves should’ve clearly been stated. This would address the numerous news outlets this article made it to since I am only commenting on this one. Damage was already done. What a sad example of reporting. This was either a careless mistake or blatant lies. Thanks

    • TJC

      October 23, 2023 at 3:53 pm

      So, you believe everything said in the comments by LIBERAL JOURNALISTS?
      Good, because I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy. I’ll sell it to you cheap. Honest. And don’t worry, Black people aren’t allowed on it, so you’ll love it. Trust me.

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 21, 2023 at 6:15 am

    Forever! That is the time it will take to resolve racist and sexist rhetoric! Peace!

    • Silly Wabbit

      October 23, 2023 at 4:01 pm

      So twue.

Comments are closed.


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