Wednesday’s Piece: Ahmaud Arbery

Because yesterday’s News was so long, I decided to break it up into smaller chunks of the two different topics. The story of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting is below the break.

UPDATE: The Georgia Bureau Of Investigations have arrested Gregory and Travis McMichael for the murder for the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

 Okay, let’s talk a bit about Ahmaud Arbery. By now I’m sure we’ve all seen the video on Twitter or Facebook. I’m not going to link to it because I always find those things disturbing and couldn’t watch the whole thing. As always in these cases, you’ll find some who want to “have all the facts” before making a decision. Usually what they mean is “I don’t mind a black person got shot for no good reason and the shooter got off, but don’t you dare call me racist” even though they generally are. It’s sort of a tell.  So, let’s look at the facts.

A now-deleted video posted on a Georgia radio’s website showed an altercation between Arbery, African American, and two white men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis. The video shows Arbery running around the pair’s pickup before the younger McMichael, carrying a shotgun, initiated a physical altercation. The elder McMichael had a handgun but didn’t get physically involved, and at least one of three shots took place off camera. Arbery got off one left-handed punch while he and the younger McMichael struggled with the shotgun.

 Back on camera, two more shots went off and Arbery lay dead in the street. This was all recorded by a heretofore unknown fourth person who wasn’t actively involved in the altercation. The whole affair took place on one street in the predominately white Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, GA, about an hour-and-a-half south of Savannah.

 That’s what we know. Those are the undeniable facts. Moving on, then. Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper said her son was a fitness nut and former high-school football player who ran daily to keep in shape, sometimes through the Satilla Shores neighborhood. According to the McMichaels, they saw a “black guy” running down the street. Recently, McMichael claims, $2,300 in fishing equipment was stolen from a neighbor, who didn’t report it, and a 9 mm handgun out of the younger McMichael’s car, who did report it. According to a report from the Glynn County Police Department, after seeing Arbery running down the street, the elder McMichael said, “Travis, the guy is running down the street, let’s go.”

The McMichael’s claimed they also saw Arbery look into the window of a house under construction, which isn’t against the law. Either way, before the fatal altercation began, McMichael told Arbery “Stop, stop. We want to talk to you.” Initially, they pleaded “stand your ground” but recently changed that to “citizen’s arrest”. Calls to 911 were made, but S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery family, said although the operator asked what the issue was, all the McMichaels would say was, “He’s a black man running down our street.”

 Okay. Are you ready to hear why people are so righteously pissed off apart from what may just have been a tragic if rock-stupid mistake? This all happened Feb. 23 and it wasn’t until April when the video surfaced that the Glynn County DA took any action whatsoever. So far, no charges have been filed and three attorneys from the county have recused themselves due to conflict of interest. Why? The elder McMichael worked as an investigator for the district attorney in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit Jackie Johnson. After she recused herself, it went to George Barnhill, the district attorney of Waycross, GA. However, he recused himself when Arbery’s mother brought to attention that his son works in Johnson’s office. The matter is now in the hands

  The matter is now in the hands of DA Tom Durden of Hinesville, some 70 miles away. Muddying the waters even further, Barnhill wrote a letter explaining why the McMichaels did nothing wrong under the “stand your ground” law Georgia has, even though they later changed it to “citizen’s arrest”

 He went one step further, claiming without evidence Arbery had “mental health issues” and pointed out that Arbery had once been arrested in high school for shoplifting and another time for bringing a gun to campus. Merritt dismissed both Barnhill’s interpretation of “stand your ground,” noting the McMichaels claim “citizen arrest” even though they saw no crime in action as the law states is necessary. As for Arbery’s high school history, Merritt dismissed them as completely inconsequential to the case, noting that all that the McMichaels accused Arbery of doing was looking into an under-construction house’s window, which doesn’t make the nut nor justify shooting Arbery.

 Supporters of Arbery and his family have been demonstrating outside the Brunswick Courthouse over the injustice of the matter. Notably, they were not armed with high-powered rifles like the anti-shut down “protesters” up in Michigan because they can’t get a haircut. Governor Doug Kemp, Democratic rising star Stacey Abrams, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have all stuck their fingers in, and Joe Biden has condemned the whole mess. Trump hasn’t said a thing, which is probably for the best.

 Due to the epidemic, Georgia won’t be empaneling any grand or trial jury through at least June 12. One hopes the law in Georgia doesn’t forget that a black man was shot and killed by a white man for, if anything, because he “fit the description” of who he thought might have stolen less than $3,000 worth of guns and fishing equipment, and that probably deserves at least a solid looking into. When we remember Trayvon Martin and Botham Jean, well… let’s just say we’ll be keeping an eye on them.

 Okay. Them’s the facts and that’s what the police report says. This is the judicial field the case is being decided on, and that’s how the participants are all connected. Tune in tomorrow to the Blogger site, and we’ll get into supposition and opinion. All I will say is the elder McMichael claimed race had nothing to do with it, and speaking as a Southern Man, I can’t help but be skeptical that’s anything but bullshit. I’ll apologize if I have to, but I ain’t holding my breath.

 

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