Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, left his house on Feb 23 to go for a run through his neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga. He was unaware that he was not going to return home.
Something as ordinary as going on a jog was a ‘justified’ death sentence for Arbery according to two white men, a father and son named Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, who shot and killed Abrery.
Gregory McMichael reportedly told the police that he thought Arbery was the suspect to “several” break-ins in the area. It was later discovered that there had been only one burglary in that area since January, according to The New York Times.
McMichael also claimed that Arbery “violently attacked” his son, who then shot him in self-defense.
Authorities hadn’t charged the suspects for more than two months because the homicide supposedly fell under the state’s self-defense and citizen arrest law. But the horrifying video of the shooting was released on May 5 brought outrage throughout the nation and revealed what truly happened: a cold-blooded murder.
The video of Arbery’s killing spread like wildfire and finally, two days after it was released, Gregory and Travis McMichaels were charged with murder and aggravated assault in the killing.
This was a win in the media’s eyes, but it didn’t erase the pain and suffering Abrery’s parents went through. Not only did they lose their son, but the men who were responsible for shooting him seemed to be getting away with it.
This modern-day lynching is unacceptable. It highlights very clearly that racism still very much exists in the U.S., even though people like to claim that it doesn’t.
The lack of action by local authorities in this case before the video went viral also shows the racial inequalities in the criminal justice system.
The police at the scene of the shooting were actually ready to arrest the two men, but District Attorney Jackie Johnson shut down the investigation, according to The Guardian. Gregory McMichael worked in her office as an investigator for more than 20 years prior to this incident. It seems clear that Johnson was trying to protect him and his son.
It’s not right that his previous years on the force protected him from being arrested and charged right away. It took months of silence from law enforcement and a national upheaval to bring the killing to light..
Despite so many people fighting for justice, there are always those who choose to bring more hate to the situation by saying Arbery’s death was justified.
For example, one Cal High student reposted the video where Arbery was shot and killed, and commented, “You can literally see the black dude run towards the guy with a gun and punch and try to take his gun, it’s not racism, it’s natural selection.”
The student was watching the same video that probably brought tears to many people’s eyes.
In what world is a comment like that OK? Well, apparently our world because this student is just one of many people that have made hateful comments like this about Arbery’s death. People like this are the reason why the fight for equality is never-ending.
It absolutely breaks my heart to know that Arbery’s life was taken away with the same hate that has fueled this country for centuries.
I go on a run every day to help keep sane during this stay-at-home order, and I’m greeted with smiles and genuine waves. Arbery was greeted with guns.
The unfairness is sickening, and so is the fact that this is just one case of so many similar ones.