If you haven’t heard the story yet, let me paint a picture for you. It was a gorgeous February day and 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run in his Georgia neighborhood when two white men in a truck followed him and started a fight with him before shooting and killing him.
Ahmaud was unarmed, it was broad daylight, and it wasn’t until a video of the murder emerged to the public on May 5th (72 days after the murder) that prosecutors took enough interest to look into the case and ultimately arrest the two men on May 7th (74 freaking days later).
It’s safe to argue that the only reason these arrests even happened is because of the public outcry.
The two men who chased down Ahmaud were Greg McMichael, a former police officer who worked for the DA’s office, and his son Travis, who eventually blasted the fatal shot. The video was filmed by William Bryan, who was following Ahmaud with Greg and Travis, as a way to document the series of events (or cover their asses).
The three men apparently saw Ahmaud running down the street (in broad daylight) and decided to link him to a series of neighborhood robberies in recent weeks. Ahmaud was doing absolutely nothing to suggest that he could possibly be a suspect nor was he doing anything suspicious. He was merely going for a run.
In fact, in a 911 call someone made to report “suspicious activity”, the caller never explicitly said what Ahmaud was doing wrong, even when they were asked directly by the operator.
After the shooting took place, the case basically sat on a desk for weeks, the desk of a DA whose son works for the same DA’s office where Greg once worked.
According to the New York Times,
“[The] Georgia prosecutor, who had the case for weeks before recusing himself over a conflict of interest, had advised the Glynn County Police Department that there was ‘insufficient probable cause’ to issue arrest warrants for the McMichaels.”
The DA, George Barnhill, wrote a rather appalling letter to the county’s Captian of Police in the Investigations Department. In it, he indicates that he is passing the case off to another DA since the department is “under pressure” to issue an arrest, but that, despite “extensively” reviewing evidence, he and a colleague “do not see grounds for an arrest of any of the three parties.” He argues that the men were trying to get Ahmaud to stop and wait until police arrived (a “citizen’s arrest”) and had the right to “open carry.”
Further, he argues that, because Ahmaud tried to fight off Travis by grabbing his gun (you know, to keep from being shot), Ahmaud “initiated the fight” and “under Georgia law, [Travis] was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself.”
By the way, good ‘ol boy George also argues “while we know [Travis] had his finger on the trigger, we do not know who caused the firings.”
WTF?! Who else could have shot the gun?!
Eventually, after 70 days of protests and the release of the video of the assault, Travis and Greg were arrested on May 7th and charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Ahmaud’s life was taken from him because three white men chased him down for one reason and one reason only: he was a black man running in their neighborhood.
These men decided that was enough “evidence” for “probable cause” to justify a citizen’s arrest.
But, as we all know, there was no evidence of Ahmaud breaking into nearby homes. He was merely a black man, taking a jog. And that was enough for them.
READ THIS NEXT
Aside from being a writer, Ashley is a mom of two girls and a wife to a passionate public school administrator. When she does have free time (cue laughter from working moms everywhere) she loves going to hot yoga classes, watching anything on Netflix that isn’t a cartoon, and weaving her way through every aisle of Target while listening to one of her favorite podcasts.