What You Need to Know About Ahmaud Arbery
On 23 February 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was shot after an altercation with Gregory and Travis McMichael. It took more than two months for the men, as well as the neighbor who filmed the incident, to be apprehended.
Mr Arbery’s family’s attorneys have described his killing as a “modern-day lynching.” According to the McMichaels, they were defending themselves while attempting a “citizen’s arrest.”
Here is what we currently know.
Who is on trial?
Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis, 35, and their next-door neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were arrested in May. Mr Bryan enlisted the assistance of the McMichaels in pursuing Mr Arbery.
Each of them is charged with nine felonies, including murder and aggravated assault. They have entered a not guilty plea.
Prosecutors allege that as Mr Arbery was on the ground, Travis McMichael uttered a racial insult and an expletive directed at him. The males categorically deny racism.
What transpired during the trial?
Prosecutors have asserted that racism had a significant role in the case. Linda Dunikoski, the lead prosecutor, told the jury during her opening statement: “All three of these defendants acted on assumptions – not on facts or evidence.”
On 8 November, the jury was shown video from police body cameras in the moments immediately following Mr Arbery’s death. Prosecutors used the footage in court to bolster the defense’s contention that the three men were merely attempting to apprehend Mr Arbery.
As the first officer approaches, the senior McMichael is heard telling his son, Travis, “You had no choice.” Mr Arbery is seen on the ground only a few feet distant.
Despite prosecutors’ protestations, the 12-member jury has only one black member. The lack of diversity may raise concerns about the verdict’s credibility.