Sunday, December 5, 2021

Trial on murder of Ahmaud Arberi to open in Georgia

BRUNSWICK, Georgia (AP) – Three whites are set to stand trial Friday for the shooting of Ahmaud Arbury, a 25-year-old black man whose murder was largely ignored until a leaked mobile video sparked outrage that exacerbated national sentiment. racial injustice.

Greg McMichael and his adult son Travis McMichael armed and chased Arbury in a pickup truck as he ran through their area near the Georgia port city of Brunswick on February 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddy” Brian, joined the chase and recorded graphic footage of Travis McMichael shooting Arbury three times with a shotgun.

Georgia’s response to the murder was part of a broader effort to tackle racial injustice in the criminal justice system following a string of deadly clashes between police and blacks such as George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley was scheduled to swear jurors on Friday to hear opening statements from prosecutors and defense attorneys. All three defendants are being tried together on charges of murder and other crimes.

Arbury was dead for over two months before McMichel and Brian were charged and jailed last year. Greg McMichael, a former local district attorney’s investigator, told police that people tried to stop Arbury because they suspected he was a burglar. CCTV cameras recorded his entrance to a neighboring house under construction.

Greg McMichael said his son killed Arbury in self-defense after Arbury pounded and tried to retrieve Travis McMichael’s pistol.

Prosecutors say Arbury was just jogging, unarmed and not committing any crime in the neighborhood. When a video of Brian’s murder leaked online in May 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over from local police. The next day, GBI agents arrested Mc Michaels and indicted Brian two weeks later.

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The Arbury murder dominated news and social media feeds in Brunswick and the surrounding area of ​​Glynn County, a coastal community of about 85,000.

It took the judge and lawyers 2 1/2 weeks to choose the jury. About 200 people summoned to the jury were questioned in detail about what they knew about the case, how many times they watched the video, and whether they had any personal connections with Arbury or the defendants.

The controversy erupted on Wednesday, the final day of the jury, when prosecutors objected to a final jury of 11 whites and one black jury. They argued that lawyers excluded eight potential jurors from the last panel because they are black, which the US Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

The judge agreed that there appeared to be “willful discrimination,” but said Georgia law restricts his power to intervene because defense attorneys provided non-racial reasons for excluding black panelists from the jury.

One of the jurors, a white woman, was fired Thursday for medical reasons. Fifteen panelists will listen to the trial – 12 jurors plus three alternates. The judge did not declare the races of the alternate juries, and they were not asked to declare their race in open court.

Court officials said the trial could take two weeks or more.

If the defendants are acquitted, their legal problems will not end. They were also charged with federal hate crimes. A US District Court judge has set the trial for February 7th.

Nation World News Desk
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