Shooting Death Of Ahmaud Arbery Is Another Example Of White Privilege In America
The rallying cry “Black Lives Matter” is once again front and center – on the tips of all of our tongues – after yet another shooting death of an unarmed black man. This time the victim is 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia who was shot and killed by two white men who allegedly thought he was responsible for a string of burglaries in their largely white neighborhood.
Recent video footage has cast serious doubt on their story and is sparking outrage across the country as more and more people call for an investigation. Keep in mind: the two men who shot and killed Ahmaud haven’t been charged with any crime, let alone arrested.
A man called 911 to report ‘black male running’ prior to the shooting.
In Georgia, the parents of a black man killed by two white men armed with a revolver and a shotgun called for immediate arrests yesterday as they faced the prospect of waiting a month or longer before a grand jury considers charges.
Their son, Ahmaud Arbery, had gone for a jog in Satilla Shores, near the Georgia coast. The 25-year-old was known around the neighborhood, and would sometimes wave to residents as he ran. But that day, a series of events unfolded that ended in his killing at the hands of Gregory McMichael, and his son, Travis McMichael.
Lawyers for Arbery’s family have said his death was a “lynching” and requested it be investigated as a hate crime
A recently released graphic video shows moments of incident but leaves out several important details.
Video footage captured by an unidentified witness in a vehicle being driven behind Arbery shows him as he jogs along a two-lane road. Ahead, a white pickup truck is parked, with one man standing in the truck bed and another standing by the driver’s side.
Arbery is seen running toward the truck’s right side and he then veers in and out of the camera’s frame. A gunshot rings out. Arbery is then seen entering into a struggle with one man, who appears to hold a long gun. Another shot then rings out; Arbery was shot at least twice before he fell to the pavement.
The shooters – who are identified in a police report as ‘witnesses’ – say they thought Arbery was responsible for a string of burglaries.
An incident report identifies Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, as the two men who pursued Arbery.
Gregory McMichael said he saw Arbery run by his front yard and alerted his son, according to the police report — he says they thought he resembled a suspect behind recent break-ins in the neighborhood. Both men then grabbed weapons and attempted to follow Arbery in their pickup truck. After a chase, the men pulled up beside Arbery and shouted at him to stop, McMichael claimed, and Travis McMichael got out of the vehicle with a shotgun. Gregory McMichael alleged that Arbery then attacked Travis and that the men began fighting over the weapon before any shots were fired— an assertion which appears to contradict the footage appearing to show Arbery only began grappling with a man after the first shot.
The shooting took place in late February – what is going on with the investigation?
Arbery was ambushed and shot dead by two men despite not being guilty for any crime. Yet more than two months after his death, no one has been arrested or charged for the crime of gunning down an innocent man.
The handling of the case has been marred with conflicts of interest, since one of the men involved is a former investigator for the District Attorney’s office and a former police officer. Several law enforcement officials have had to recuse themselves from the case because of their connections to the McMichael family.
Lee Merrit, an attorney for Abery’s family, said “The Glynn County Police Department has the authority and legal imperative to make an arrest today, pending the presentation of this case to a grand jury. These men must be taken into custody pending their indictment.”
Durden, District Attorney of Georgia’s Atlantic Judicial Court, has said a Glynn County grand jury should make the decision on whether criminal charges should be brought in the case. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, grand juries are prohibited from meeting through June 12.
As the outrage grows over this man’s death, a growing number of major voices are calling for justice.
Former United States Vice-President Joe Biden has joined politicians calling for a just and transparent investigation into the fatal shooting of unarmed Arbery.
In a tweet on Wednesday, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Biden called for “a swift, full, and transparent investigation” into Arbery’s murder.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, another former candidate for Democratic nomination, also said the video was “sickening”.
“The fact that no action has been taken after two months is unacceptable. Ahmaud’s friends and family deserve accountability and justice,” she tweeted.
Ilhan Omar, a Democratic member of the House, tweeted on Wednesday: “Arbery was lynched. Killed in cold blood simply for being a Black man in America. Far too often, our criminal justice system fails us. We can’t let that happen this time.”
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