Letter from Dunnellon — From the June 2014 issue

Our Common Trouble

In search of justice and forgiveness in Florida

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Dwight Maxwell, a self-employed roofer and handyman, was arrested around dusk on September 7, 2012, in the parking lot of a mostly abandoned shopping center in Dunnellon, a small city in north central Florida. He had ignored a police cruiser at the side of the road ahead of him and nearly driven his black Dodge pickup into Officer Adam Robinson, who was training with the Dunnellon Police Department and involved at the time in a routine stop for a burned-out headlight. Robinson and his supervisor, Sergeant Jacob Gonzalez, pursued Maxwell for about a quarter mile down U.S. 41, the city’s main thoroughfare, before he made his way into Dunnellon Plaza.

Maxwell was asked to step out of the truck, and he complied. He is black, about six feet tall and 235 pounds, and that night he wasn’t wearing a shirt. He was told to remove his hat, and Robinson searched his work boots, because boots are a good place to hide knives and dope. In his socks and camouflage shorts, Maxwell failed a series of field sobriety tests. At one point, Gonzalez shined a light into his face and noted an absence of nose hairs, an indication that he’d snorted something irritative.

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is the editor of Gesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and Philosophy, out this month from Bloomsbury. He lives in New York City.

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  • Jared Simpson

    What was it that Korb expected of/wanted from Maxwell? Of the two, Maxwell, his many shortcomings notwithstanding, seems the more rational of the two: He knows nothing is to be gained by these awkward encounters forced on him by Korb, who appears to believe that his own unhealed grief can be assuaged if only Maxwell would somehow cooperate.
    And I can’t help but imagine what would happen to poor, black Maxwell if he were to follow white, middle-classed Korb around NYC after being asked, politely and unequivocally, to stop.

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