Black Lives Matter

Who is Ahmaud Arbery and why was he killed?

Following the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery's case was heard on 4 June and three white men charged with murder over the killing of the unarmed jogger.

Who is Ahmaud Arbery and why was he killed?
Sean Rayford AFP

Three white men charged with the murder of an unarmed black man in Georgia appeared in court on 4 June in a case that caused a national outcry after cellphone video of the shooting was leaked on social media. The judge presiding the case ruled that there was enough evidence to pursue murder charges against Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, 34, and William Bryan following the death of Ahmaud Arbery on 23 February. The case only came to court two months after the alleged killing but has garnered national attention in the wake of the global protest movement sparked by the death of George Floyd on 25 May.

Arbery, a resident of Brunswick, Georgia, was shot dead while out jogging in Glynn County. McMichael and his son face charges of murder and aggravated assault while Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels who took the cellphone video, was charged with felony murder and attempt to illegally detain and confine.

State police stepped in to investigate after Glynn County police took no action, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) pressed charges.

Glynn County Magistrate Judge Wallace Harrell reviewed whether or not the GBI had probable cause to bring the charges and ruled last Thursday that the case would proceed.

Arbery "mistaken" for "burglary suspect" by McMichael

Police say Gregory McMichael saw Arbery running in his neighborhood just outside Brunswick and believed he looked like a burglary suspect. The elder McMichael called his son and the two armed themselves and gave chase in a pickup truck, police said.

Bryan's video footage appears to show the McMichaels confronting Arbery before Arbery was shot with a shotgun.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the case as a possible federal hate crime. The GBI is investigating the police department and two local district attorney offices over the handling of the case.

If convicted, the three men face life in prison or the death penalty.

UN decries “systemic racism” in the USA

A team of UN human rights special rapporteurs has spoken of “systemic racism” in the United States and said the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have created an atmosphere of tension similar to that of the “regime of lynching” carried out by white supremacists in the early 20th century.

The rapporteurs warned that the deaths of Arbery and Floyd represent “the tip of the iceberg of racial injustice present in the justice system of the Unites States.”