Ahmaud Arbery killing sparks outrage

Cyril Josh Barker | 5/14/2020, midnight
Even in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the infamous American tradition of unarmed Black men being killed is ...
Ahmaud Arbery Family photo

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the infamous American tradition of

unarmed Black men being killed is still making its way to the forefront of society.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, is the latest victim whose story now joins the headlines about the

coronavirus. Reports indicate he was fatally shot while jogging in a mostly white Brunswick,

Georgia neighborhood on Feb. 23 by white father and son Gregory and Travis

McMichael. The duo claim Arbery resembled another Black man they claim has robbed homes

in their neighborhood and they say they were making a citizen’s arrest.

“The series of events captured in this video confirm what all the evidence indicated prior to its

release—Ahmaud Arbery was pursued by three white men that targeted him solely because of

his race and murdered him without justification. This is murder,” the family’s attorney Lee Merritt said on social media.

A 36-second video of the incident was caught on a cellphone by William Bryan, who was also following Arbery in his vehicle. In the video, Arbery jogs up to a pickup truck where Gregory is

standing on the truck bed. Travis comes out of the truck with a shotgun. Arbery crosses from the

left side of the road to the right side. He is approached by Travis where the two struggle and

three shots are heard. Arbery is then seen collapsing face down on the street.

Reports indicate that Arbery was shot twice in the chest and suffered a shotgun graze to his

right wrist.

Gregory is a retired investigator who worked with the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District

Attorney’s Office and previously worked as a police officer for the Glynn County Police

Department. When the shooting occurred, the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office advised

police not to arrest Travis and Gregory. Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George

Barnhill also said no arrest should be made.

Video of the shooting surfaced last week and shortly after, Travis and Gregory were arrested

and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault––74 days after killing Arbery. Law enforcement reportedly told Arbery’s mother that he committed a burglary and that a struggle over a firearm is what killed him.

Barnhill has recused himself from the case along with Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson because they previously worked with Gregory. The case is now being handled by Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, a Black woman.

“I feel better. Now I have a sense of hope,” Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones said. “At one

point, in the beginning, I didn’t have any hope that anything would ever be done about it

because I was getting all conflicting information.”

Outrage has ensued over the situation with protests took place in Atlanta in other places. Many

are calling Arbery’s killing racially motivated and a modern day lynching.

Rev. Al Sharpton recently led a virtual rally from the National Action Network’s headquarters in

Harlem.

“The victory is not when the two men were arrested it is when there is justice for this young man

and his family,” Sharpton said. “The arrest last night of two of the three people involved is the

beginning of a legal process, it is not the end.”