His name is Ahmaud Arbery. By now, you may have heard that name but if you haven’t, it’s imperative that you do.
Ahmaud was shot to death while jogging nearly two months ago near Brunswick, Georgia, after being chased down by two white men who claim they thought he may have been a burglary suspect.
Since his untimely death, no arrests have been made and now his family is fighting for justice to be served, enlisting the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is demanding a federal investigation in Ahmaud’s death, according to VICE News.
Here’s why supporters of Ahmaud feel a federal investigation is needed: One district attorney has said the two men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, were within their rights when they chased Arbery because they believed they were threatened.
“It is bias and hate that lead some white people to perceive threats where there are none and, within seconds, the life of a person of color can be taken,” Margaret Huang, president of the SPLC, said in a statement about Ahmaud’’s death Thursday.
The local district attorney for Brunswick County quickly recused herself from the case because Gregory worked in the county’s law enforcement sector for decades — first as an officer, then as an investigator.
George E. Barnhill, the DA in Ware County, took it on and was later the one who determined the father and son were protected by the state’s citizen arrest statute, as Travis was apparently acting in self-defense, and wrote in a letter reviewed by the Times that Ahmaud had a criminal record.
Keep in mind, the criminal record he speaks of included a shoplifting conviction, a probation violation, and a years-old indictment for taking a handgun to school.
It would seem this case didn’t get the attention it deserved until recently due to the coronavirus, which has prevented the family from taking to the streets to protest.
The McMichaels allegedly told officers that Ahmaud looked like the suspect responsible for a string of local break-ins, according to a police report obtained by the local news.
Gregory McMichael also told police that he’d seen Ahmaud “the other night” and that he’d reached into his pants — it’s unclear under what circumstances — which apparently drew suspicion that he had a gun.
And, on the day of the shooting, someone in the neighborhood reported a black man was inside a house that was under construction before running away, according to the New York Times.
Some things to put in perspective is Brunswick, which has a population of about 16,400, is more than 56% Black.
There was also no evidence that Ahmaud was linked to any of the neighborhood’s recent property crime.
Gregory McMichael was standing on his lawn when he saw Ahmaud run past, according to the Times.
He called out to his son Travis to come help him follow Ahmaud They jumped into their truck armed with to guns and pursued Ahmaud, calling out to him to stop.
A confrontation took place when the men caught up with Ahmaud, during which Travis and Ahmaud allegedly “struggled for possession” of the shotgun, according to the local Brunswick News.
Travis allegedly fired twice and Ahmaud was shot and died within minutes.
Ahmaud’s family said there was nothing suspicious about him running that day because he was athletic and ran regularly.
“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,” Barnhill wrote in a letter to local police, according to the Times.
That attorney claims there’s video footage of the shooting, and video footage of Arbery “burglarizing a home immediately preceding the chase and confrontation.”
But Barnhill also had to recuse himself from the case after Arbery’s family noted his son worked in the district attorney’s office that employed McMichael.
The case is now in the hands of yet another district attorney, Tom Durden, in Hinesville.
We’ll keep you posted on any updates.
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