A 25-Year-Old Black Man Was Shot Dead in Georgia While Jogging, Prompting Online Protests Labeling the Incident as Racial Profiling
Sarah Al-Arshani, Insider, April 29, 2020
A black man jogging in an affluent suburban Georgia neighborhood was shot dead by neighbors on February 23, who thought he was a robber, setting off online protests labeling the incident as racial profiling, The New York Times reported.
Ahmaud Arbery was jogging around Brunswick, Georgia, before he was killed in nearby Satilla Shores. Arbery ran by Gregory McMichael who called to his son Travis McMichael before grabbing their .357 magnum revolver and shotgun and followed Arbery in a truck, according to The Times.
“Stop, stop,” they shouted at Mr. Arbery, according to The Times, “we want to talk to you.”
Gregory McMichael told police he thought Arbery was the suspect in a string of break-ins. Arbery died after being shot twice in after “a struggle over the shotgun,” according to The Times.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the elder McMichael, who is a former police officer, was the only source quoted in the police report and that led critics to suspect that “his influence played a role in authorities’ decision not to bring charges.”
Some family members and friends of Arbery told The Times that the lack of attention to the case is concerning. They’re concerned that the inability to protest and organize due to coronavirus social distancing orders will mean that the case will go unnoticed.
“We can’t do anything because of this corona stuff,” Wanda Cooper, Arbery’s mother told the Times. “We thought about walking out where the shooting occurred, just doing a little march, but we can’t be out right now.”
Activists in Brunswick have been trying to organize protests online. They created a Facebook page and “coordinated a pressure campaign, emailing law enforcement officials and the local newspaper, created #IRunWithMaud and #JusticeForAhmaud, and even printed T-shirts,” the Times reported.
“There are a lot of people absolutely ready to protest. But because of social distancing and being safe, we have to watch what’s going on with the coronavirus,” Jason Vaughn, a football coach at Brunswick High School who coached Arbery told The Times.
Family, friends, and activists told the Times that whether or not Arbery may have been engaging in some property crime did not warrant the attack, and they contend he was targeted for his skin color.
Arbery had some run-ins with police in the past, included being “sentenced to five years’ probation as a first offender on charges of carrying a weapon on campus and several counts of obstructing a law enforcement officer,” the AJC reported. Arbery was also charged for shoplifting and violating his probation in 2018, according to the AJC.