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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Arbery Murder Trial: Guilty 3.0

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The three men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery for jogging while black last year were actually surprised Wednesday when their 11-white-1-black jury returned from deliberation with a verdict of guilty on nearly all counts.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the verdict earlier today. The stage is now set for  Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. (who recorded the killing) to be sentenced and punished for the senseless crime.

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told reporters and the crowd of supporters that gathered outside the courthouse that “I never thought this day would come, but God is good.”

Arbery was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia on February 23, 2020 when the spirit of againstedness raised its ugly head and the McMichaels accosted him, shot him and called him “a fucking nigger” as he lay dying in the street.” While the McMichaels attacked the jogger, Bryan recorded it all.

Their reason for confronting him? They said they thought he may have committed a burglary. Typical. To a racist hell-bent on killing, any black man running down the street is a criminal leaving the scene of a crime. Needless to say, there was and is no evidence whatsoever that Arbery committed any crime. But EVEN IF THERE HAD BEEN, the idea that white men feel they can make a “citizen’s arrest” only turns into making a “citizen’s execution” when black lives are involved.

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Incredibly, the three murderers were allowed to go free for 74 days after being briefly questioned by police. Waycross District Attorney George E. Barnhill actually defended the murder as an act of “justifiable homicide” under Georgia’s “stand your ground” law.

Despite the outwardly racial bias demonstrated by law enforcement an prosecutorial officials, my own assessment was that people are generally tired of the evil. The tide is turning and a shift is underway. There were some who called Arbery’s slaying exactly what it was– a “modern-day lynching.”

In a statement issued by the ACLU of Georgia, executive director Andrea Young said: “With their verdict, the jury rejected the vestige of Jim Crow and the assertion of white supremacy that was at the center of this case.”

The jury convicted Travis McMichael of all nine charges against him, while his father was convicted on eight of nine. Bryan was found guilty of six of the nine charges he faced.

Damon Hewett, president and executive director with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the verdict was a message that justice in America might just no longer be business as usual.

“The jurors sent a signal about accountability for the racist violence and harassment that inherently ignores the humanity of Black people. . . . A jury with only one Black juror, even with racial dog whistles from defense counsel, recognized and honored Ahmaud Arbery’s humanity as much as it punished his murderers for their depravity,”

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