Saturday, October 1, 2022

Racially charged US trial weighs in on murder or self-defense

The emotional and racially charged trial of three white men accused of murdering an African American jogger focused on whether the tragic shooting was murder or an act of self-defense.

Day four of the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial in Brunswick, Georgia, Wednesday focused on the accounts of police officers who reacted to the scene, and a neighbor who told the jury that he had called the police on Arbery.

Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan, 52, are accused of stalking and killing Arbery in February 2020 in the suburb of Brunswick, Georgia.

In addition to felony and aggravated assault, three Georgia men have been charged with attempted kidnapping and a federal hate crime for allegedly racially profiling 25-year-old Arbery.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty, arguing that they suspected Arbery, who was on a jog, of fleeing a crime when they followed him in vehicles and drove him down a street in their predominantly white neighborhood. shot on.

Travis McMichael was captured in a cellphone video of Brian confronting Arbery with a shotgun. The two were seen fighting and shot three times before Arbery could reach for the gun.

In Glynn County (Georgia) Superior Court, Matthew Albenz, a longtime neighborhood resident, testified that he called the police after seeing Arbery outside a home under construction.

A video of Ahmaud Arbery walking through an under-construction home at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, November 9, during the trial of a prosecutor, Greg McMichael, and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William “Roddy” Bryan shows. ,

‘A suspicious black man’

Albenz told a non-emergency police operator that he could see “a suspected black man in a white T-shirt” entering the home.

According to a recording played in court, the operator asked, “I just need to know what he was doing wrong.” “He has been caught on camera many times before. It’s kind of an ongoing thing,” Albenz told the operator, adding that Arbery was now running out of the property.

Gregory McMichael told police that Arbery was speeding through the neighborhood when he first saw him. The defendants said they thought Arbery was a theft suspect when they attempted to arrest a civilian. A police officer testified on Tuesday, however, that the defendants never told him they were trying to arrest a civilian.

Gregory McMichael stands next to his attorney as he attends jury selection in his trial with Travis McMichael and his neighbor William. "Roddy" Brian, at Gwyn County Superior Court, in Brunswick, Georgia, October 27, 2021.

Gregory McMichael stands next to his attorney as he joins Travis McMichael and his neighbor, William “Roddy” Bryan in jury selection at Gwynne County Superior Court on October 27, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia.

Prosecutors retained the men Arbery “assumed to be the worst” as he ran through the neighborhood, which had experienced some of the most recent break-ins in cars.

The jury, made up of 11 white men and one black man, watched CCTV video of him walking into the construction site of a house in Arbery before the shooting, but took nothing before turning away. The video also showed a white couple looking around the same construction site as Arbery, but they were never encountered.

Some court observers believe that it will be difficult for defendants to prove their case.

“Not only did Greg McMichael or others not see Arbery committing a crime, they did not have a reasonable suspicion that a crime had occurred,” Areva Martin, a civil rights attorney, said in a televised interview on the HLN cable network. “This is not going to be sufficient evidence by any standard to support his defense that he had a right to attempt to detain, detain or arrest Ahmed Arbery.”

Travis McMichael, right, stands next to his attorney as he attends jury selection in his trial with Gregory McMichael and his neighbor William. "Roddy" Brian, at Gwyn County Superior Court, in Brunswick, Georgia, October 27, 2021.

Travis McMichael, right, stands next to his attorney as he attends jury selection in his trial with Gregory McMichael and his neighbor, William “Roddy” Bryan, at Gwyn County Superior Court in Brunswick, Georgia, October 27 , 2021.

Inside the courtroom, police officer Jeff Brandberry, who responded to the scene, said that Greg McMichael told him that Travis McMichael yelled at Arbery to stop him before confronting Arbery with a gun.

Brandeberry also testified that Gregory McMichael found blood on himself as he shook Arbery’s hand lying on the ground after the shooting to check for a weapon.

Arbery was unarmed.

“I didn’t know if he had a weapon or not,” said Greg McMichael, explaining why he touched Arbery’s body, the transcript Brandberry read to the court.

protracted legal battle

Arbery’s death sparked nationwide protests last year when police did not charge suspects for more than two months after video of his murder leaked and went viral on social media.

William "Roddy" Brian attends his trial with Gregory and Travis McMichael in jury selection at Gwyn County Superior Court on October 27, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia.

William “Roddy” Bryan attends jury selection at his trial with Gregory and Travis McMichael at Gwyn County Superior Court on October 27, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia.

Following the arrest, former District Attorney Jackie Johnson was charged by the state Attorney General’s office of “willfully and knowingly” preventing police officers from arresting Travis McMichael. It also alleges that Johnson showed “grace and affection” to Gregory McMichael, a former employee of the district attorney’s office.

Johnson, who denied any wrongdoing in his handling of the case, was removed from office last year following a national uproar. Two other prosecutors withdrew from the case.

The trial was also delayed due to jury selection and an investigation into the racial makeup of the panel. According to Census Bureau data, an almost entirely white jury was selected, even though 26% of Glynn County residents are black.

In an interview with CBS News last month, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said she believed her son was targeted because of his race.

“This trial meant a lot to me when Ahmed was first killed,” she said. “We went through three prosecutors. We went through no arrests. And we finally got this far.”

The trial is expected to last for several weeks. If convicted, all three men face life in prison.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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