Three white Georgian men are scheduled to testify before a Federal Judge in February 2020 on allegations of hate crime in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was prosecuted and shot after being seen running in the defendants’ neighborhood.
Federal Attorneys will present their case to US Magistrate Judge Benjamin CheESbro on Tuesday afternoon, as the three suspects face State murder charges: Greg McMichael, his adult son Travis McMichael, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan.
A Georgia judge has scheduled a state case for October and will hear pre-trial motions later this week.
The death of Arbery came on the heels of a summer of racial justice demonstrations across the United States, sparking particular anger at the defendants’ continued freedom two months later.
The men were not charged with murder until the local police turned over Bryan’s cellphone video of the assassination to the Georgia Investigative Office.
According to police, the McMichaels, who were armed, pursued Arbery, who was unarmed, in a pick-up truck last February 23 after passing by his house.
Bryan followed another vehicle and verified that Travis McMichael fired Arbery three times in close proximity with a weapon.
On April 28, this year, the Department of Justice charged both McMichaels and Bryan with violating Arbery’s civil rights and attempting to abduct him with their trucks and weapons. The McMichaels were also convicted of a knife crime.
The federal indictment claims that all three men used unlawful force to “injure, threaten, and interfere with” the young Black man “due to Arbery’s race and color.”
They could face life in prison if found guilty of violating Arbery’s rights.
A Civil War statute was repealed.
McMichaels and Bryan’s attorneys contend that they have committed no crimes.
McMichaels’ lawyers claim that they prosecuted Arbery because they accused him of being a burglar caught on video in a nearby building. Travis McMichael is said to have shot Arbery in self-defense while battling a gun.
Prosecutors contend that Arbery was not involved in the jogging and that there is no proof that Arbery took anything from the home.
On Friday, Judge Timothy Walmsley ordered that jurors be chosen in the state case on October 18, while McMichaels and Bryan face trial after a jury has been selected.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the judge heard 12 pre-trial motions.
Walmsley must determine if Arbery’s previous court appearances, as well as racist text messages and social media posts from the men who pursued and killed him, would provide unfavourable evidence to the trial jury.
On Monday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp repealed a civil-war-era law that allowed arrests of people who committed crimes. A prosecutor who was initially assigned to the Arbery case used the law to argue that the shooting was justified.
Civil rights organisations contend that the law is rife with racism and has been used to justify lynchings of black people.
In May 2020, Georgia’s General Counsel launched an investigation into the prosecution’s misbehaviour of the local prosecutors who first attempted Arbery’s murder-Jackie Johnson, District Attorney of Brunswick, and George Barnhill, District Attorney of Waycross. Johnson has been prejudiced since she previously served former police officer Elder McMichael. She referred the case to Barnhill, who was also acquainted with McMichael.
Barnhill later determined that the trio had not committed a crime after consulting with the Glynn County Police.
Last month, a jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of second and third-degree killing and murder in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, on May 25, 2020.
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