Georgia Jury: Three Whites Guilty of Arbery’s Murder

Status: 11/25/2021 00:56

More than a year and a half after the killing of the black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, a jury in the US state of Georgia found the three white defendants guilty of murder. Relatives and friends of the victim reacted with relief.

By Katrin Brand, ARD Studio Washington

It was an emotional afternoon in Brunswick, Georgia. People cheered, laughed and shouted many amen. “Tell the world,” said the Reverend Al Sharpton, a prominent pastor and civil rights activist, “that a jury of eleven whites and one black in the deep south of the United States said black lives matter.”

The Brunswick, Georgia jury found three white men guilty of killing a young black man. Travis McMichael, the shooter, has to go to prison for insidious murder. His father Greg and neighbor William Bryan were convicted, among other things, of aggravated assault. All three face life imprisonment.

The victim, Ahmaud Arbery, was on a Sunday running lap in late February 2020 when he was followed and shot by the three men in cars. The three thought he was a burglar and wanted to arrest him. That type of civic arrest was possible in Georgia at the time. When Arbery struggled, cornered, the younger McMichael shot three times at close range, killing him.

The whole thing was seen on a cell phone video that was released to the public weeks after the crime. No one had been arrested by then.

Large participation in anti-racism demos

The case became known throughout the USA. Arbery’s fate mobilized people to take part in the anti-racism demonstrations. The process was followed closely. That only one of the twelve jurors was black, where more than 30 percent of the population in Georgia are black, was something that caught the eye.

Also the appearance of defense attorney Kevin Gough, who complained about the supporters of the family of the killed: “We don’t want more black pastors here!” Celebrities like Al Sharpton sit next to the family and try to influence the jury. Judge Walmsley countered that he would not shut the public out of this courtroom. Hundreds of priests, mostly black, demonstrated in front of the courthouse shortly afterwards.

For President Joe Biden, the ruling means that the rule of law is working properly. But he warned that everyone must commit to building a future in which no one has to fear violence because of the color of their skin.

Did Arbery have to die because he was black?

The proceedings are not yet over for the three convicts. They will be charged with a hate crime in a federal trial next year. Then there is the question of whether Ahmaud Arbery had to die because he was black.

Black jogger murdered – three white men guilty

Katrin Brand, ARD Washington, November 25, 2021 00:00

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