Ahmaud Arbery was ‘painted as runaway slave’ in front of jury, lawyer claims

Ahmaud Arbery was killed after gunman Travis McMichael and his former cop father Gregory McMichael got ‘mad’ because the black jogger wouldn’t stop and answer questions, their murder trial heard Tuesday

The jury in the trial of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery started their second day of deliberations by requesting the video of the killing and 911 call, as civil rights lawyer said outside that the black unarmed jogger was chased down and murdered like a ‘runaway slave’. 

The jury foreperson told Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley the panel – composed of 11 white and one black person – wanted to view the shooting video and hear the call accused Gregory McMichael made to 911 on February 23, 2020.

‘We, the jury, request to see the following videos three times each: One, the original video, the short version. Two, the enhanced high contrast version. We would also like to listen to the 911 call on to 2/23 made by Greg McMichael,’ the foreperson. 

The court then proceeded to play the videos thrice, as well as the 911 call. 

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, arrived at the Glynn County Courthouse accompanied by high profile supporters including civil rights attorney Ben Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton who took turns to demand jurors find the jogger’s alleged white killers guilty.

‘You see the defense lawyer talk about his long legs and his dirty toenails almost as if he’s like a runaway slave and that they are chasing him,’ said Crump, who is representing Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, in civil proceedings. 

‘They capture him and then they kill him. And the only question that remains is, is this jury going to give us a Jim Crow verdict? Or are they going to say in 2021 America we must be better than this?’

Crump, who has previously represented the families of George Floyd and Michael Brown, said Arbery did nothing to provoke Gregory McMichael, 65, his gunman son Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbor William ‘Roddy’ Brian, 52, before the fatal chase in February last year.  

All three have pleaded not guilty to one count of malice murder, four of felony murder, two of aggravated assault, one of false imprisonment and one of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.   

Cooper-Jones uttered a few brief words as she left the court with her legal team just after midday to take a lunch break.

As jurors continued to deliberate inside, she told a well-wisher: ‘I’m doing good’.

Asked how her heart was, the anguished mom simply added: ‘Heavy’.

As the jury in the murder trial deliberates for a second day, civil rights attorney Ben Crump told said on Wednesday that the defense team for all three men engaged in blatant racism and that they have tried to 'latch onto a racist rhetoric' as a way to influence the jury, made up of 11 white and one black juror. Pictured: Crump outside the Glynn County Court House on Wednesday

As the jury in the murder trial deliberates for a second day, civil rights attorney Ben Crump told said on Wednesday that the defense team for all three men engaged in blatant racism and that they have tried to 'latch onto a racist rhetoric' as a way to influence the jury, made up of 11 white and one black juror. Pictured: Crump outside the Glynn County Court House on Wednesday

As the jury in the murder trial deliberates for a second day, civil rights attorney Ben Crump told said on Wednesday that the defense team for all three men engaged in blatant racism and that they have tried to ‘latch onto a racist rhetoric’ as a way to influence the jury, made up of 11 white and one black juror. Pictured: Crump outside the Glynn County Court House on Wednesday

Crump (far right) and the Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured Wednesday with Wanda Cooper-Jones on his left and Marcus Arbery on his right) took turns to demand jurors find the jogger¿s alleged white killers guilty

Crump (far right) and the Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured Wednesday with Wanda Cooper-Jones on his left and Marcus Arbery on his right) took turns to demand jurors find the jogger¿s alleged white killers guilty

Crump (far right) and the Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured Wednesday with Wanda Cooper-Jones on his left and Marcus Arbery on his right) took turns to demand jurors find the jogger’s alleged white killers guilty

‘It harkens back to a Jim Crow-era type killing,’ Crump added. ‘You have a young black man who is minding his business and then ordinary white citizens suspect that they believe he’s done something criminal.

‘And instead of calling the police, instead of giving him his due process, they go out and they take the law into their own hands.’

The men said they tried to make a citizen’s arrest, which was allowed under Georgia law at the time of the jogger’s shooting death on February 23, 2020.

They chased Arbery, 25, through the mainly-white area of Satilla Shores, just outside the small coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia. The pursuit ended with Travis firing three times from his pump action shotgun, leaving Arbery dead in the roadway. 

Crump likened 25-year-old Arbery’s alleged ‘lynching’ to the killing of Trayvon Martin but he said that video evidence here should ensure the trio cannot successfully claim self-defense as George Zimmerman did in 2012.

Crump (pictured outside the courthouse Wednesday) likened 25-year-old Arbery¿s alleged ¿lynching¿ to the killing of Trayvon Martin but he said that video evidence here should ensure the trio cannot successfully claim self-defense as George Zimmerman did in 2012

Crump (pictured outside the courthouse Wednesday) likened 25-year-old Arbery¿s alleged ¿lynching¿ to the killing of Trayvon Martin but he said that video evidence here should ensure the trio cannot successfully claim self-defense as George Zimmerman did in 2012

Crump (pictured outside the courthouse Wednesday) likened 25-year-old Arbery’s alleged ‘lynching’ to the killing of Trayvon Martin but he said that video evidence here should ensure the trio cannot successfully claim self-defense as George Zimmerman did in 2012

Travis McMichael (pictured in court Tuesday) was the only defendant to take the stand, testifying that he fired his shotgun at close range at Arbery in self defense in what he said was the most traumatic event of his life

Travis McMichael (pictured in court Tuesday) was the only defendant to take the stand, testifying that he fired his shotgun at close range at Arbery in self defense in what he said was the most traumatic event of his life

Travis McMichael (pictured in court Tuesday) was the only defendant to take the stand, testifying that he fired his shotgun at close range at Arbery in self defense in what he said was the most traumatic event of his life

Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael (pictured in court Tuesday), and neighbor William 'Roddie' Bryan Jr, have all pleaded not guilty to one count of malice murder, four of felony murder, two of aggravated assault, one of false imprisonment and one of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment

Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael (pictured in court Tuesday), and neighbor William 'Roddie' Bryan Jr, have all pleaded not guilty to one count of malice murder, four of felony murder, two of aggravated assault, one of false imprisonment and one of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment

The men said they tried to make a citizen's arrest, which was allowed under Georgia law at the time of Arbery's shooting death on Feb. 23, 2020 (Pictured: William Bryan in court Tuesday)

The men said they tried to make a citizen's arrest, which was allowed under Georgia law at the time of Arbery's shooting death on Feb. 23, 2020 (Pictured: William Bryan in court Tuesday)

Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael (left), and neighbor William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr (right), have all pleaded not guilty to one count of malice murder, four of felony murder, two of aggravated assault, one of false imprisonment and one of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment

‘We have a visual of everything that happened as he [Arbery] ran for his life. And I think that sets us apart because we literally see a young black man get lynched in broad daylight and 2020,’ Crump added.

‘If America can condone this, then all parents who have children of color, we can’t protect them and we can’t depend on the law to hold people accountable.

‘I looked at that video as a lawyer that then I looked at it as a black man who’s a parent of black children. And I said that we have to get justice in this matter. We have to get justice.’

Rev. Sharpton led Arbery’s family in an emotional prayer service at the steps of the court in Brunswick, Georgia before she headed inside where jurors began a second day of deliberations.

It was soon revealed they had asked Judge Timothy R. Walmsley if they could watch cell phone video of Arbery’s shooting again, a step welcomed by Arbery family attorney Lee Merritt, who said it suggested that jurors were studying the evidence closely.

Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, arrives at the courthouse Wednesday alongside her attorneys, family and supporters

Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, looks as Rev. Al Sharpton speaks to the media outside the Glynn County Courthouse on Wednesday

Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, looks as Rev. Al Sharpton speaks to the media outside the Glynn County Courthouse on Wednesday

Ahmaud Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, looks as Rev. Al Sharpton speaks to the media outside the Glynn County Courthouse on Wednesday

Sharpton meanwhile attacked defense lawyers for presenting what he described as one of the most racist cases he had ever heard and for asking the judge to exclude ‘black pastors’ from attending proceedings.

Cooper-Jones, wearing a colorful striped shirt and black pants, looked on in silent approval as Sharpton told reporters: ‘I have never sat in a courtroom where a victim was akin to an animal, talking about dirty toe nails like he was not even human.

‘I’ve been in many courtrooms, I’ve never heard ministers that were praying called a lynch mob. I’ve never heard an attorney say I don’t want more black pastors – not pastors, black pastors – in the courtroom.

‘This has been the most racist language and court case that I’ve witnessed.’

During her closing arguments on Monday, attorney for Gregory McMichael, Laura Hogue, told the jury the defendants had a duty to catch Arbery, whom she painted as a frightening burglar with ‘long dirty toenails,’ using a description from the autopsy report.

As she made the description, Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones left the court room in tears. 

During her closing arguments on Monday, attorney for Gregory McMichael, Laura Hogue, told the jury the defendants had a duty to catch Arbery, whom she painted as a frightening burglar with 'long dirty toenails,' using a description from the autopsy report

During her closing arguments on Monday, attorney for Gregory McMichael, Laura Hogue, told the jury the defendants had a duty to catch Arbery, whom she painted as a frightening burglar with 'long dirty toenails,' using a description from the autopsy report

During her closing arguments on Monday, attorney for Gregory McMichael, Laura Hogue, told the jury the defendants had a duty to catch Arbery, whom she painted as a frightening burglar with ‘long dirty toenails,’ using a description from the autopsy report

Upon hearing Hogue's comments on Monday, Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones (left), got up and left after saying, 'I gotta get out of here'

Upon hearing Hogue's comments on Monday, Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones (left), got up and left after saying, 'I gotta get out of here'

Upon hearing Hogue’s comments on Monday, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones (left), got up and left after saying, ‘I gotta get out of here’ 

Cooper-Jones was in tears as she left the Glen County Magistrate Court in Brunswick, Georgia, on Monday

Cooper-Jones was in tears as she left the Glen County Magistrate Court in Brunswick, Georgia, on Monday

Cooper-Jones was in tears as she left the Glen County Magistrate Court in Brunswick, Georgia, on Monday 

‘The only thing that I think of is that they then believe that is going to resonate, given the geographic location of where this trial is being held in the deep south, and the demographics of the jury in terms of its makeup – that being 11 white jurors and one black,’ Crump said.

Crump on Tuesday claimed on CNN that: ‘They’re hoping that there’s somebody who’s going to latch on to this racist rhetoric that they are spouting and potentially prevent their clients from being convicted. Hopefully we will not see that happen, but that sort of rhetoric and using racism as a legal strategy is just an arberration.’ 

Crump was referring specifically to Williams’ defense attorney Kevin Gough who asked the judge to declare a mistrial five times – four of which were for black pastors being present in the court room, and the fifth after armed black militia rallied outside the court house on Monday.  

Jury deliberations have resumed for a second day Wednesday.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley called the jurors into the courtroom briefly Wednesday morning and instructed them to continue weighing the charges in the murder trial.

The disproportionately white jury received the case around midday Tuesday and spent about six hours deliberating before adjourning without a verdict.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was a fleeing burglar when they armed themselves and jumped in a pickup truck to chase him on Feb. 23, 2020. 

Bryan joined the pursuit when they passed his house and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery at close range with a shotgun as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for the weapon.

The above map shows Ahmaud Arbery's approximate path and locations of the events that occurred on February 23, 2020

The above map shows Ahmaud Arbery's approximate path and locations of the events that occurred on February 23, 2020

The above map shows Ahmaud Arbery’s approximate path and locations of the events that occurred on February 23, 2020

In the video recorded by Bryan, Arbery can be seen trying to wrestle a shotgun from Travis McMichael's hands

In the video recorded by Bryan, Arbery can be seen trying to wrestle a shotgun from Travis McMichael's hands

After being shot three times by the younger McMichael, the video shows Arbery collapsing to the pavement. He died on the scene

After being shot three times by the younger McMichael, the video shows Arbery collapsing to the pavement. He died on the scene

In the video recorded by Bryan, Arbery can be seen trying to wrestle a shotgun from Travis McMichael’s hands. After being shot three times by the younger McMichael, the video shows Arbery collapsing to the pavement. He died on the scene

Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the graphic video of his death leaked online two months later and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case, quickly arresting the three men. 

Each of them is charged with murder and other crimes.

Defense attorneys contend the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen´s arrest when they set off after Arbery, seeking to detain and question him as a suspected burglar after he was seen running from a nearby home under construction.

Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defense, saying the running man turned and attacked with his fists while running past the idling truck where Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants´ neighborhood. He had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing at the time to study to become an electrician like his uncles.

Link hienalouca.com

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