Things That Matter

The Father And Son Who Killed Ahmaud Arbery Don’t Want Him To Be Called A “Victim” In Upcoming Court Case

The men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery have some outrageous requests for their upcoming murder trial that really show just how far many will go protect white supremacy.

Despite their being video evidence of them chasing and shooting Arbery, the father and son are requesting that Arbery never be referred to as a victim. What the actual f***?!

Arbery’s killers are asking a judge to prohibit referring to Arbery as a “victim.”

The men responsible for Ahmaud Arbery’s death have a litany of requests for their upcoming murder trial – notably, they don’t want the word “victim” uttered in court while referring to the man they murdered.

Defense attorneys for Travis and Greg McMichael – the father and son who chased Arbery down with their truck and then proceeded to shoot and kill him in a struggle – have filed new motions in their trial. They want to prohibit the prosecution from ever referring to Arbery as a victim in front of the jury, because they say that’s a conclusion that can’t be reached before a verdict.

“The purpose of this motion is to prevent the prosecution from ignoring its duty to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes were actually committed and that the McMichaels committed the crimes as charged,” states the four-page motion, signed by lawyers Franklin and Laura Hogue, Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield.

According to the motion, the McMichaels argue no crime has been committed – remember, they’ve pled not guilty and argued self-defense. As a result, they say “loaded words” like “victim” might prejudice jurors against them from the jump.

But there’s more: his killers are asking the judge to only allow one photo of Arbery.

Their unbelievable antics don’t stop with the word “victim.” Defense attorneys are also requesting that only one “in life” photograph be permitted at trial to depict Arbery – and that the photo show him alone without any family members or friends. Not just that, but the defense asks that no family member of his be able to identify him in court, they want that done by an unrelated, third party witness, if necessary.

The reason: they argue too many photos of Arbery will create an ingrained bias in the jury’s collective mind, and paint him as a sympathetic character. They say they don’t want his family involved in ID’ing either because of possible emotional outbursts, which may also affect the jurors. So in other words, the McMichaels want this as sterile as possible.

One last thing: the McMichaels have asked that Black Lives Matter face masks not be permitted in court, that any jail calls they’ve made be stricken as usable evidence, but that Ahmaud’s criminal record be admissible. Again, what the actual f***?!

Arbery’s murder made headlines over the summer as he was chased and gunned down while out on a jog.

Credit: Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Arbery was killed on 23 February last year in Brunswick, Georgia, while out jogging. Prosecutors allege that Gregory McMichael, 64, a retired police detective, and his son Travis, 34, chased Arbery in their truck and initiated a confrontation that ended with Travis McMichael shooting Arbery dead.

Arbery’s killing sparked outrage in the local community and nationally, particularly after it was revealed that local law enforcement initially refused to arrest the suspects and a prosecutor, who later recused himself, wrote a memorandum explaining why he believed the killing was legally justified.

The McMichaels told detectives they believed Arbery, a trained electrician, was responsible for a string of burglaries in their neighbourhood, and merely wanted to ask him about them. They were arrested more than two months after the shooting, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case.

A judge has yet to weigh in, and a trial date isn’t set.

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‘Insecure’ Star Kendrick Sampson Shared Emotional Instagram Post About Experiencing Police Brutality in Colombia

Things That Matter

‘Insecure’ Star Kendrick Sampson Shared Emotional Instagram Post About Experiencing Police Brutality in Colombia

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Anti-Black police brutality isn’t just a problem in the U.S.–it’s a problem around the world. A recent Instagram post made by “Insecure” actor Kendrick Sampson proved as much.

Sampson–who has been very involved in Black Lives Matter protests this year–shared a post with his 930,000 Instagram followers detailing the police brutality that he faced in Cartagena, Colombia.

The video shows a Cartagena police officer appearing to tug on Sampson’s hands before striking him in the face. The officer then takes out his gun and cocks it in a threatening manner. The entire scene is upsetting, to say the least.

The video was originally posted by Sampson’s friend, Colombian actress Natalia Reyes, who wrote a fiery Instagram caption condemning the Cartagena police:

POLICE BRUTALITY, this is my friend Kendrick Sampson @kendrick38, an actor and dedicated activist of the @blklivesmatter movement in the United States, today this happened to him here in Cartagena and everything hurts, not only because he is a friend but because that is the day to day of many, because we got used to this and that is NOT okay, it’s not normal, the police have the right to ask for your ID but they don’t have the right to punch you, dig in your underwear (as happened before someone started filming) and pull a gun on a person who is not committing any crime or offering any resistance, taking him to a station, not wanting to return his ID and even trying to admonish him? What if this person wasn’t filming? When is this gonna stop? It’s time to rethink the use of force.

@nataliareyesg/Instagram

Sampson reposted the video on his own Instagram account with his own commentary on the discrimination he faced in Cartagena:

Cartagena is AMAZING but this is the 6th time I was stopped in 5 days. It happens to Black Colombians often. I’m told stopping is policy but what is NOT is they reached down my underwear aggressively, slap my arms 5 times hard, punch me in my jaw and pull his gun on me. He then cuffed me and dragged me through the streets. I did not resist any legal procedure. Thank u for posting @nataliareyesg & for helping me through this. And to the person who recorded this.

@kendrick38/Instagram

Some of Sampson’s Latino followers as well as others who have simply visited Colombia chimed in with their thoughts.

One follower said, “I’m so sorry this happened to you here. Cartagena also suffers from racism and such obvious police abuse, I don’t know how long we’re going to have to put up with all this. This is disgraceful.”

Another Colombian said: “Colombian people are pure love bro … sorry for that bad moment. Police in this city think that his uniform it’s power or something like that, many police agents think that are better than you only for wear that uniform and that’s so sick my man…”

This Afro-Latino traveled to Colombia and had a similar experience: “I wasn’t hit this way at all, but when I was visiting Cartagena earlier this year in November, they stopped me and my other black friends and questioned us. No one else in my group (a mix of mestiza, fair-skinned Indigenous, and yt ppl) to ask us why we were standing outside of our hotel.”

Latino celebrities like Rosario Dawson and Lauren Jauregui responded to Sampson’s post offering their sympathy and support.

“I’m so grateful you were able to walk away from this altercation alive and horrified that that’s something to have to be grateful for,” wrote Rosario Dawson. “Police brutality is rampant worldwide and the violence must end. No more impunity.”

Lauren Jauregui simply wrote: “Holy f–k bro. Sending you so much protection!!!”

Colombia has the second largest Black population in South America, right behind Brazil.

Black Colombians make up 10.5% of Colombia’s population. The global swell of activism after the death of George Floyd stretched to Colombia over the summer, with Afro-Colombians taking to the streets to protest anti-Black racism and police brutality.

There’s a longstanding myth that Latinidad is “color blind” because of its shared history of European colonization and the blending of multiple cultures. But cases like Sampson’s prove that is not the case. Police brutality and anti-Blackness is just as real and pervasive in Latin America as it is in the United States.

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A Family Received A Racist Note After Displaying A Black Santa But Their Neighbors Rallied In Support With Powerful Gesture

Things That Matter

A Family Received A Racist Note After Displaying A Black Santa But Their Neighbors Rallied In Support With Powerful Gesture

VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Many of us love to put up decorations for the holidays. Especially this year, thanks to COVID-19, many are going the extra mile to salvage some sense of holiday cheer and normalcy amid a year that has been anything but.

One man from North Little Rock, Arkansas also loves putting up decorations for the holidays, including a light-up sign that says “Joy” and a statue of a Black Santa Claus that he hoped would set a good example for his 4-year-old daughter.

But his happy tradition was tainted by an anonymous racist letter he said he received in the mail last week.

Neighbors put up their own Black Santas to show support for family who received a racist note.

An Arkansas man is speaking out after receiving a racist letter calling him “the laughing stock of the neighborhood” for putting a seven-foot tall Black Santa Claus display on his front lawn. Chris Kennedy, who is Black, apparently angered a racist neighbor with his Christmas display including the Black Santa who is joined by a Christmas tree and a massive sign that reads “Joy.”

The letter that Kennedy received said: “Please remove your negro Santa Clause yard decoration. You should not try to deceive children into believing that I am a negro. I am a Caucasian white man to you and have been for the past 600 years. Your being jealous of my race is no excuse for your dishonesty. Besides that, you are making yourself the laughing stock of the neighborhood.”

The letter also included an image of a white Santa Claus who had hand gestures with two thumbs down. Kennedy told CNN, “The real thing that angered me was the fact that the person who wrote it suggested I move out east where I guess they feel all Black people live.”

“After three years of having no problems from anyone with our decorations it happens this year,” he said. “We have been very active politically this year so we both feel that that might have played into this a little bit.”

However, despite the incident, Kennedy says that the Black Santa Claus will remain on his lawn because “the children love it and that’s what Christmas is about, it’s about children,” he told Fox 16.

Many of his neighbors have addressed the racist incident by showing their support in a very special way.

It’s not only the children who love what Kennedy has done for their community. Several of his neighbors have shown their support by purchasing their own Black Santa displays to join in on the diverse lawn decorations. In fact, even the home owners association is promising to display a Black Santa in their office as soon as the one they ordered arrives. 

“The rest of the neighborhood has been awesome since hearing about the letter,” he told CNN. “If we are outside they often stop by and share kind words of encouragement. Some have brought us over cookies and other treats. One even brought us a yard sign that says ‘Love your neighbors Y’all.’ We have gotten gifts of Black Santa yard flags and a Merry Christmas flag with a Black Santa on it. Our neighbors have been absolutely amazing.”

One neighbor of the Kennedy’s told CNN that “Racism is something that we do discriminate against and we will not stand for it.” He added, “It’s done my heart good to see his displays for the last three years especially given who he lives next to. I hate it that their family’s having to go through that but we’ve been praying for him.”

While Kennedy is appreciative of the efforts made, he told CNN that he would rather see folks donate their money to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, which services children and families in need. 

“There are still loving and caring individuals out there. I know that my neighborhood has definitely lifted us up,” said Kennedy. 

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