How race plays into the pursuit of justice in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder



JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Half of the 40 candidate jurors questioned in the first two days of the trial of three men accused of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were fired after answering dozens of questions from lawyers. Some of the inquiries were about the southern heritage of the people of Glynn County, whether the old Georgian flag including an image of the Confederate battle flag is a racist symbol, and whether people of color are treated fairly by the justice system criminal.

Defense attorneys have argued that the prosecution is attempting to make Arbery’s murder ethnicity of the 25-year-old, but these are the facts of the case according to police.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Arbery was chased by Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, for more than four minutes while jogging before being shot as he tried to get around their stopped van in the street. The McMichaels told officers called in to Arbery’s fatal shooting that they had a “hunch” that the man had robbed a house in their neighborhood of Satilla Shores and that they were attempting to arrest a citizen.

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Defense attorneys will also argue that Arbery attacked Travis McMichael during the chase and that the fatal shooting was in self-defense. The video Bryan made appears to show that Arbery did not approach McMichael until after the first shot.

Police said Arbery was unarmed when he was killed.

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As uncomfortable and controversial as the race conversation may be for some, the question will be an integral part of presenting the charge to the jury at trial. Not only were the father and son, as well as William “Roddy” Bryan, who recorded the case and shot his cell phone, charged with murder, but they were also indicted by the US Department of Justice on charges of murder. federal hate crime charges.

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The prosecution is prepared to use the accused’s words against them during the trial. Documents filed by the special prosecutor in charge of the case notified the court that they intended to prosecute evidence of racist insults, posted on social media and texted by the three men.

Prosecutors also intend to use William Roddy Bryant’s affidavit that he saw Travis Mcmichael call Arbery the N word after shooting him – as the victim was bleeding on the street.

In the April 2021 hate crimes indictment, the Justice Department alleges “that the three defendants used force and threats of force to intimidate and obstruct Arbery’s right to use a lane. public because of his race, ”adding that“ the three men illegally seized and confined Arbery by pursuing him in their trucks with the aim of restraining, locking him up and detaining him against his will.

“Roddy” Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough (standing) interviewed a potential juror on day two of Bryan, Travis and Gregory McMichael’s trial. (TV courtyard / swimming pool)

Tuesday in court

For the second day in a row, only one panel of 20 potential jurors was interviewed as the session with the morning group lasted until 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

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“Do you agree that people of color are not treated fairly in the criminal justice system? Is one of the questions jurors ask themselves.

Juror # 72, on Tuesday afternoon’s jury roll, replied that, as far as she knows from the case, if Arbery had been white “it probably wouldn’t have happened.”

Juror No.73 told lawyers, “No one should be afraid to go out because of their color. I believe black people are not treated the same as whites.

Despite watching the video or being exposed to information about the case, most of the jurors interviewed said they believed they could be impartial if they were chosen to hear the case. .

A juror told lawyers that her negative feelings about the defendants stemmed from what she saw in the media and that she could “absolutely” give them a fair trial.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, the pool reporter ‘s notes indicated that 12 of the day’s 20 panel were stuck and seven were advancing into the final group from which the final jury would be chosen. Eight of Monday’s panel of 20 were also fired.

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From Wednesday, the judge only plans one panel per day.

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