Ahmaud Arbery trial set for Monday

Lawyers for the accused trio, charged with murder of Ahmaud Arbery and other crimes, contend that their actions under a now-revised citizen arrest law were legal and that Travis McMichael, 35, fired the fatal shot in self-defense when Arbery ran at him and fired from a corner. Authorities say Arbery was walking in the Satilla Shore neighborhood of Glynn County, Brunswick, on February 23, 2020, when father and son Gregory McMichael and Travis Michael left their home and began chasing him. The three defendants were not arrested until months after the shooting, when a South Georgia radio station released a cellphone video showing Travis Michael up close.

Jury selection in the murder trial of three white men from Georgia began Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was killed in February after chasing father and son in their pickup truck. Three white men are accused of killing Arbery and a third man, William Bryan who filmed the murder, has been charged with murder. The three white men are on trial in the US state of Georgia for chasing and shooting Arbery, an unarmed black man. Travis McMichael, 35, Gregory Michael, 65, and a neighbor, Williams Bryan, 52, face murder, false imprisonment and grievous bodily harm for chasing and shooting Arbery in a pickup truck during the trial.

Hundreds of people were ordered to appear in Georgia before jurors on Monday in a long and arduous effort to find jurors to hear the trial of the three black men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black jogger whose shooting last year was captured on video. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday in the murder trial of three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, three men arrested in connection with Arbery’s murder, which occurred in February outside Brunswick, Georgia. The men are Greg Michael, 65, whom they accuse of killing Arbery after seeing him running in their neighborhood on February 23rd, 2020, and their neighbor William Roddy Bryan, 52, who shot part of the video that sparked national outrage more than two months later for the absence of an arrest.

More than two months passed between the indictment of McMichael and Bryan, the release of the jail video of Arbery’s killing, and the case being taken over by state investigators by local police. Attorney Robert Rubin, who represented gunman Travis McMichael, argued that the suspicion of probable cause under Georgia’s citizenship law at the time amounted to a misdemeanor and that McMichael should have been tried and detained in front of Arbery and the police. More than two weeks passed between the prison videos of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black jogger whose killing was leaked and when they leaked, sparking a nationwide outcry. Jury selection in the murder trial of him and his sons, Travis and Michael, and William Roddy Bryan, the neighbor who joined the chase and recorded video of the shooting, is scheduled to begin Monday. 

The case involving Arbery’s death last month made headlines when a former Georgia district attorney was indicted by the Attorney General for allegedly aiding Gregory Michael by obstructing law enforcement officers and instructing Travis Michael not to arrest his son in connection with the case. Prosecutors have recorded text messages from Travis McMichael’s cell phone from the year before the shooting, in which he used the N-word and exchanged an argument as evidence in public records, but have not asked for the messages to be used in the trial. Defense attorneys want the judge to prevent prosecutors from showing the jury a photo of the truck Michael used to pursue Arbery that shows the front bumper and vanity sign with Georgia’s former state flag and the Confederate emblem. The Justice Department said it is reviewing a request of the Attorney General to review the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on 8 May in the Glynn County Court in Brunswick, Ga. to determine whether federal hate crime charges should be brought.

Ahmaud Arbery helped bring about a fundamental shift in the commitment to racial justice that has forced Georgia to treat hate crimes more seriously. Now that a trial is about to begin over the role of the man accused of killing him, it is worth noting that we should not know his name. On 2 September 2023, Jackie Johnson, a district attorney yet to be re-elected, was charged with 1) obstructing a police officer (a misdemeanor) for telling two G Lynn County police officers not to arrest Travis McMichael after he shot and killed Arbery, 2) committing a felony (violating oath of office), 3) showing Michael favors and affection and 4) failing to treat Arbery and his family with dignity.