UPDATE: The Killing of Ahmaud Arbery
UPDATE: Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
When will it stop? Another Black mother will mourn the loss of her son this Mother's Day as he was murdered for "Jogging While Black".
On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man, was jogging in a Georgia neighborhood when he was shot and killed by two white men who thought he had burglarized homes in the neighborhood. He was unarmed, breaking no laws, and minding his own business, but obviously that means little to nothing if you'e a black man in this country. An arrest wasn't made til Thursday, May 7, 2020.
Here's what happened....
A short yet shocking video captured the murder from the perspective of a vehicle following a young black man running at a jogger's pace. Arbery approaches a pickup truck parked in the street. There are two white men, one outside the vehicle with a shotgun, 34-year-old Travis McMichael, and the other, his father, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael, standing aloft in the flatbed.
The McMichaels had reportedly chased Arbery, blocking his path at another location, at which point he had turned around and jogged another way to avoid them.
In the video, when the men encounter each other, there’s an immediate an altercation. Arbery and the younger McMichael fought for control of the shotgun. Shots were fired. Arbery tried to run away, but he is clearly wounded and his knees buckle. He collapsed to the ground. The video ended shortly thereafter.
After Arbery fell, the younger McMichael rolled over the limp body “to see if the male had a weapon,” according to a police report. There was blood on McMichael’s hands when the police arrived. Arbery died of his wounds.
This is how the police report detailed the father’s explanation for why he and his son chased Arbery:
“McMichael stated he was in his front yard and saw the suspect from the break-ins ‘hauling ass’ down Satilla Drive toward Burford Drive. McMichael stated he then ran inside his house and called to Travis (McMichael) and said, ‘Travis, the guy is running down the street, let’s go.’ McMichael stated he went to his bedroom and grabbed his .357 Magnum and Travis grabbed his shotgun because they ‘didn’t know if the male was armed or not.’”
Neither of the McMichaels was arrested or charged. From the time this happened in late February, they have had the luxury of sleeping in their own beds, free men, while Arbery’s body is confined to a coffin, deep in a grave. Ridiculous!
The second prosecutor’s recusal, he said in a letter obtained by The Times:
“It appears Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and Bryan Williams were following in ‘hot pursuit,’ a burglary suspect, with solid first hand probable cause, in their neighborhood, and asking/telling him to stop. It appears their intent was to stop and hold this criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived. Under Georgia law this is perfectly legal.”
The third and current prosecutor on the case said Tuesday that the case should be heard by a grand jury. He cites...
“A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge.”
The recused prosecutor’s letter states:
“Given the fact Arbery initiated the fight, at the point Arbery grabbed the shotgun, under Georgia law, McMichael was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself.”
The similarities here to the Trayvon Martin case are uncanny. These men stalked Arbery, projecting onto him a criminality of which he was not guilty, then used self-defense as justification to gun him down in an altercation that they provoked. Arbery was killed eight years to the month after Martin was killed, just about three hours north.
As has too often been the case in this country.... the law legalizes the abuse and murder of black people. Slavery was legal. The Black Codes were legal. Sundown towns were legal. Sharecropping was legal. Jim Crow was legal. Racial covenants were legal. Mass incarceration is legal. Chasing a black man or boy with your gun because you suspect him a criminal is legal. Using lethal force as an act of self-defense in a physical dispute that you provoke and could easily have avoided is, often, legal.
Arbery was enjoying a nice run on a beautiful day when he began to be stalked by armed men. Can you imagine what must he have thought when he fought for the gun?What must he have thought when he took the first bullet? Or the second? What must he have thought as he collapsed to the ground and could feel the life leaving his body?
So sad... Just FYI for anyone reading this who may not know... All black women aren't angry and all black men aren't criminals.
Pray for the family.