Brunswick, Ga. (NWN) — Three white men are to be tried on Friday for stalking and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man whose death was largely ignored until a leaked cellphone video showed The shooting did not resent and deepened the national. Outrage over racial injustice
Greg McMichael and his adult son, Travis McMichael, armed themselves and chased Arbery in a pickup truck after they were seen running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick on February 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddy” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded the graphic video. Travis McMichael shoots Arbery three times with a shotgun.
Murder has become part of a wider calculation on racial injustice in the criminal legal system following deadly encounters between police and black people such as George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley plans to have the trial jury sworn in on Friday to hear opening statements from prosecutors and defense attorneys. All three defendants prosecuting together have been charged with murder and other felony charges.
It took Arbery more than two months before the McMichaels and Bryan were charged and jailed last year. Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for the local district attorney, told police they were trying to stop Arbery because they suspected he was a thief. Security cameras had recorded him entering a nearby under-construction house.
Greg McMichael said that his son killed Arbery in self-defense after Arbery attacked him with his fist and tried to take Travis McMichael’s gun.
Prosecutors say Arbery was only jogging, was unarmed and had not committed any crime in the neighborhood. When video of Brian’s murder leaked online in May 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took the matter over from local police. Its agents arrested the McMichaels the next day and charged Bryan two weeks later.
Arbery’s murder dominates news and social media feeds in Brunswick and surrounding Glynn County, a coastal community of about 85,000 people.
It took the judge and lawyers 2 1/2 weeks to select the jury. The nearly 200 people called to jury duty were questioned extensively about what they knew about the case, how many times they had watched the video and whether they had any personal ties to Arbery or the defendants.
The controversy erupted on Wednesday, the final day of jury selection, when prosecutors objected to a final jury consisting of 11 white and one black jury. He argued that defense lawyers had cut eight potential jurors from the final panel because they are black, which the US Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.
The judge agreed that there appears to be “deliberate discrimination”, But said Georgia law limited their right to intervene because defense attorneys cited non-racial reasons for excluding black panelists from the jury.
One jury member, a white woman, was dismissed on Thursday for medical reasons. Fifteen total panelists will hear the trial – 12 jury members and three alternates. The judge has not given the race of alternate jurors, and they were not asked to state their race in open court.
Court officials have said the trial could go on for two weeks or more.
If the defendants are acquitted, their legal troubles will not end. He has also been indicted on federal hate crime charges. A US District Court judge plans to begin hearing that trial on February 7.