Sunday, January 29, 2023

Murder trial begins in Ahmed Arbery’s murder

Brunswick, Ga. — Initial statements began on Friday in the murder trial of three white men charged in the shooting murder of Ahmaud Arbery, with a prosecutor telling jurors that faulty convictions led them to pursue a 25-year-old black man. Arbery’s murder was largely ignored until a leaked cellphone video sparked outrage, which deepened a national count on racial injustice.

Greg McMichael and his adult son, Travis McMichael, arm themselves and chase Arbery in a pickup truck as they walk through their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick on February 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddy” Bryan joined in. Graphic video of the chase and recorded of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery three times with a shotgun.

“These three defendants did everything based on assumptions—not facts, not evidence,” prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski told the jury. “And he made the decision based on the beliefs in his driveway that killed a young man.”

Georgia’s response to the killing has become part of a wider effort to address 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 was sworn in to an unequivocal white jury Friday before proceedings began. 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. GBI 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 appeared to be “deliberate discrimination”, but said Georgia law limited his right to intervene because defense attorneys used non-racial reasons to exclude Black panelists from the jury. Told.

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.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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