The trial continued Monday of three white men accused of shooting Ahmaud Arbury, a 25-year-old black man whose murder was largely ignored until a leaked mobile video sparked outrage that exacerbated national attitudes towards racial injustice.
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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.
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley swore an oath to the jury to hear opening statements from prosecutors and defense attorneys. All three defendants are brought to trial together on charges of murder and other crimes.
Robert Rubin, Travis McMichael’s attorney, set out a self-defense statement in his opening statement.
“What we are asking you to do is difficult. And it may be unpopular, but we ask you to accept your responsibility as a jury and be open to the facts, throwing aside emotions, listening to the law, applying it and doing your duty, ”Rubin said.
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.
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.