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Armode Arbury’s murder trial will begin in Brunswick, Georgia. : NPR

Amad Arbury’s aunt, Theawan The Brooks, in front of her house in Brunswick, Georgia.

NPR Nicole Buchanan


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Amad Arbury’s aunt, Theawan The Brooks, in front of her house in Brunswick, Georgia.

NPR Nicole Buchanan

Brunswick, Georgia — Last year, one of the killings that caused a protest of racial justice received national attention in a trial starting Monday. Three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed while jogging in a residential area on February 23, 2020, after being chased by a pickup truck. It has been.

“I was here,” says Arbury’s aunt Theawan The Brooks. “This is where he last rested.”

She stands on the street corner of the Satilla Shores district, just outside Brunswick. It is a neighborhood sandwiched between waterways on the Georgia coast. The towering trees form a canopy on top of a predominantly brick ranch-style house. A sign in the front yard says, “Run with Amado.”

A former high school athlete, Arbury lived about two miles from here, directly across from US Route 17. Brooks says this was one of his usual running paths as he was able to get away from the freeway.

There he goes now.Run down the street

However, some residents became suspicious of Arbury after repeatedly finding it entering a new home construction site. They suspected he had recently invaded, but police had not tied him to anyone.

On the day of the shooting, defendant Travis McMichael called 911 and reported that there was a man in the house under construction. “He’s going there now,” he says in the recording. “Run down the street.”

The coordinator says he will send the police, but asks, “Do I need to know what he was doing wrong?”

Arbury was unarmed, but Travis McMichael had a shotgun.

The second 911 call was made by Gregory McMichael, the father of Travis, who is also a defendant.

“There is a black man running down the street,” he says. Then he shouts, “Stop! Stop! Travis!”

After a few seconds, you will hear the shotgun blast three times.

Memories (visible and hidden), including this flax berry mural, are scattered around Brunswick.

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Theawanza Brooks says he often imagines what the moment would look like to his nephew with no one to help him. Now she’s brave to hear the defendant claim in court that this all happened because he suspected him in a neighborhood theft-it’s a legitimate citizen who tragically failed because Arbury counterattacked. It was an arrest.

“Even if you steal something, no one can make a decision, as long as you’re a judge, a jury, or an executioner,” Brooks says.

Judge, jury, executor

The trial is faced by Travis McMichael, 35, Gregory McMichael, 65, and another neighbor, William Bryan, 52. State rates Includes murder, imprisonment, chasing Arbury on a pickup truck, and exacerbating assault by shooting him.They are billed separately Federal hate crime.. The trial is scheduled for February 2022.

The Arbury shootings drew intense national surveillance, almost at the same time as racial justice protests broke out in response to police killings.

There was a serious question about how the Glynn County authorities first handled the case.Nothing happened until Killing cell phone videoRecorded by Defendant Brian, was released a few months later.

Former District Attorney, Jackie Johnson, Now facing charges She tried to protect McMichael from prosecution. Elder McMichael worked as an investigator in DA’s office and was a former police officer. His son was on the Coast Guard. Some judges and prosecutors also withdrew from the case. The savanna senior court judge Timothy Wamsley presides over the trial.

It took nearly three months before he was arrested after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took up the case due to increased public pressure. Glynn County Police..

A body camera video from the scene shows that police are treating Travis McMichael with great care and respect as he literally stood in the blood while Arbury lay down the street. is showing.

“They were given courtesy that ordinary citizens would not have received,” says Rev. John Perry, who was the chairman of the local NAACP when Arbury was killed.

Rev. John Perry in front of the Town Hall in downtown Brunswick. Regarding the difference between the judicial system and the treatment of whites and blacks, “some people call it the good old boy system. It is called a privileged relationship.”

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“Especially in the black community, if it turns out that someone has been killed,” he says. “You are handcuffed and reserved.”

Perry is running for Mayor Brunswick in the aftermath of Arbury’s murder. He is part of a crowded area of ​​candidates that reflects a broader political awakening.

He states that the case is a prime example of why many black citizens consider the judicial system to be contaminated.

Privilege relationship

“Some people call it the good old boy system. I call it a privileged relationship,” says Perry. “You have people ascending to a place of power, they have established relationships, and those established relationships are watched in a way that no one else can look for.”

Others, including Perry and the federal prosecutor, say the killing of Arbury was a racist motive – he was profiled primarily as a black man running in a white neighborhood.

The defense lawyer will reject the argument in court, according to lawyer Robert Rubin, who represents the shooter Travis McMichael.

“There’s a guy in the neighborhood who doesn’t belong to the neighborhood, not because he’s black,” Rubin says. “He doesn’t belong there, at least because he’s invading a house he doesn’t belong to.”

Rubin argues that the allegations were a possible cause under the Georgia Citizen’s Arrest Act at the time, and McMichael’s was trying to detain Arbury until police got there. But when Arbury resisted, he says, Travis McMichael acted in self-defense.

“They are literally locked together — Mr. Arbury is holding a gun in one hand and hitting Travis’s head with the other,” says Rubin. “Travis knows,’If you lose possession of this gun, I’ll die.’ So he shoots the gun. Mr. Arbury doesn’t stop approaching him, and in the end he’s Arbury. I’ll kill him. ”

The struggle was captured in a mobile phone video by a third suspect, William Brian, named Lodi.

“Without Lodi Brian, the case wouldn’t happen,” says his lawyer Kevin Goff.

Brian was on the second pickup truck chasing Arbury. Goff says his client had nothing to do with the shooting and cooperated fully with the investigation.

“Rodi Bryant did nothing on the day of the problem that the patriotic Americans wouldn’t have done,” Goff argues. “He saw an individual who didn’t know he was running, and then saw the car he went to in the community at the edge.”

He says it is wrong to file this proceeding in the light of the country’s broader struggle for equal justice.

Outside the historic Brunswick Court. 1000 potential juries have been summoned for trial — 10 times the average. Court officials want to address the challenge of having 12 juries sit, who are unaware of the accused and victims and are undecided about the case.

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“These people feel tracked, punished, and prosecuted, but you describe it in the sense or way of atonement for actual or recognized law enforcement charges in the administration of justice. “I will,” says Gough.

Many see this case in the context of other prominent cases of racial justice with various verdicts. Trayvon Martin, Walter scott, Breona Taylor, When George Floyd..

And historically, says Bobby Henderson, co-founder of hundreds of people who came before Better green – Last year, a grassroots group was formed in response to the murder of Arbury.

We witnessed Lynch

“Here we were in the south and witnessed Lynch,” says Henderson. “How far are we? 1892?? That is the problem. “

Henderson, standing on the steps of the historic Glynn County Courthouse, says that for too long a place like this couldn’t afford to give justice to people like him. He sees this case as a test of whether it has changed.

“Can we maintain this momentum towards true equality, equality and justice?” He asks. “Or are you just stuck in a cycle where some people get it and some don’t get it at all? It depends on the situation. The US Constitution shouldn’t be parchment- It depends on the situation. ”

For Henderson, the case is also personal. His son worked with Amado Avery at a fast food restaurant when he was a teenager.

“It took me a lot emotionally,” he says. “You put together all these components. You understand. What’s happening nationwide, People are watching what’s happening to black and brown people. I remember Trayvon Martin again. “

Bobby Henderson in front of the historic Brunswick Courthouse in downtown Brunswick. It took me a lot emotionally, “he says. You understand what is happening nationwide. There people are watching what is happening to black and brown people. ”

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His group worked to organize people and voters, lobbying for policy changes and investigations. And last year, the needle moved. The district attorney, who did not prosecute Arbury’s murder, was voted absent and is currently being charged with handling her case.Georgia State Parliament State private arrest law abolished passed New hate crime method..And in Glynn County New police chief – The first black man to lead the department. Henderson states that these are steps towards a more comprehensive government.

“I think it directly reflects the amount of work we have done to bring people to their strength,” he says. “And where they can use their power to generate their own profits.”

Ahmaud Arbery’s aunt Thewanza Brooks is aware of the changes that have occurred in his nephew’s name.

“Since his death, it has made a difference,” she says. “When we got together as a community, we learned that things would change, and I think this tragedy opened the eyes of many.”

Armode Arbury’s murder trial will begin in Brunswick, Georgia. : NPR

Source link Armode Arbury’s murder trial will begin in Brunswick, Georgia. : NPR

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