Please note that the purpose of this article is not intended to make disparaging claims about American populations, American police forces, or white people. We understand that not all people belonging to these groups have the same perspective on the topics discussed in this article. The purpose of this article is to educate readers about a dangerous and unfortunate problem in America and in the American justice system. This article is not intended to be anti-police. It is intended to be anti-inequality.
People are just learning about the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery a video of his death surfaced on social media, and it is sparking international outrage across social media.
Everyone who knew Arbery said that he loved to run.
On the morning of his death, he was jogging through a neighbourhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia. Video footage (which can be seen below) shows Arbery being chased by three men in two vehicles. The first vehicle held two of his assailants. The other held the person who recorded his death.
Reports say that Arbery died from a shotgun wound on February 23, 2020, at the hands of Travis and Gregory McMichael. Gregory McMichael is a former police officer. He claims that he, his son, Travis, and an unidentified third party were making a citizens arrest. They believed that Arbery was responsible for a series of break-ins in and around that the area they found him. The group proceeded to follow Arbery and shot him after they claim that he attacked them.
S. Lee Merritt, who is the Arbery family attorney, opposes the McMichael’s statement. He says that the McMichaels, who is white, saw Arbery, a Black man, in their neighbourhood. They “assumed the worst” in Arbery upon seeing him and proceeded to follow him while planning his murder.
Although this incident took place 10 weeks ago, neither Travis nor Gregory McMichael has been charged for Arbery’s murder.
This lack of due diligence is what is fueling outrage in Arbery’s community, as well as people all over the world. American police officers are more likely to kill Black people any other race or demographic. These trends are explained by systemic racism and other ideologies. by criminological experts. Despite this research, law enforcement agencies are still hesitant to conduct investigations when they occur.
In this case, McMichael’s used his privilege to keep the case from moving forward. This case has passed through the hands of three different district attorneys. The first two recused themselves from the case because they both were friends with McMichael. The third district attorney responsible for overseeing this case still has not issued arrest warrants for either party involved; however, he has announced that he will be sending the case to a grand jury. Of course, this decision was only made after the video leaked to the public.
Arbery’s story is not a foreign one.
Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Stephon Clarke.
These young men were all killed at the hand of police officers that claimed that their lives were in danger. Not one of these young men armed. Not one of them gestured or made a move that would place their assailant’s lives in danger. White America has attached a stigma to black and brown skin. Embedded in this stigma is the idea that Black people, especially Black men are dangerous. The history behind this perception of Black people is extensive, but part of it comes from the idea that white skin is good; therefore, black skin must be bad.
Believe that we are living in a post-racial America?
Take a look at the protests that are occurring across America because of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Protesters are verbally abusing, threatening, and placing the lives of supervising officers in danger. Despite the vicious actions of the protesters, officers are not wearing riot gear. They are not exercising force. They are not shooting protesters, harming them or arresting them.
Now let’s look at Black Lives Matter protesters, who for the most part protest in similar ways. At Black Lives Matter protests, officers do not fail to exercise combative force. They wear riot gear, they make multiple arrests and physically harm protesters. What is the difference between these protests? Beyond the purpose of the protests, race is the only identifiable difference.
The African-American population is tired of being overlooked, marginalized and dehumanized.
They are tired of dying because of the fear associated with the colour of their skin. Let’s take a minute to think here. If there was no video of Arbery’s death, do you think that an investigation would occur? Do you believe that if Arbery was not Black that he would not have been shot, or characterized as a “suspicious person”?
This case is about race. It is unfortunate to say; however, it is the truth. America is not in a post-racial society. We cannot say that we for the sake of peace because ignoring the problem does not solve it. White privilege is the reason that Gregory and Travis McMichael has not been prosecuted for Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. Racism is the reason why Arbery was killed.
Yes, racism is fixed in the fabric of America. Yes, it is not a problem that can be solved overnight; however, we can simply work to eradicate its prevalence by addressing it. Officers who arrived on the scene could have detained Gregory and Travis. The district attorney could have pressed charges on the McMichael’s before being prompted by angry calls for justice from the public. Agents of the law and government could have treated this case with the utmost diligence and concern.
UPDATE (May 7, 2020 at 9:07 p.m. EST)
As of May 7, 2020, Gregory and Travis McMichael have been arrested for the felony murder and aggravated assault of Ahmaud Arbery. Their accomplice which was later identified as William Bryan has not yet be arrested. It is expected that he will be arrested at some point later today.
This is a huge win for Arbery’s family and a testament to what the public can do when we work together. We are on the road to achieving justice for Ahmaud.
What are your thoughts?
Our prayers are with Arbery’s family today. Comment yours below.
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