The jury will begin to consider the Ahmad Arbery case

On Tuesday, a jury composed almost entirely of white people began to consider the case of three white men accused of hunting down and murdering 25-year-old black Ahmed Abery. His death last year was captured on video and triggered nationwide. Racial justice protests.

65-year-old Gregory McMichael, his 35-year-old son Travis McMichael and their neighbor, 52-year-old William “Rody” Bryan, were charged with felony and malicious murder in the shooting death Crime, they said it was an attempt to arrest citizens for self-defense.

“If you are an unreasonable aggressor, you can’t demand self-defense,” the chief prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said at the conclusion of the state’s case on Tuesday. “Who started this? Not Ahmed Abery.”

This killing has prompted Georgia to repeal its old citizen arrest law and pass a new hate crime law.

No one questioned the three men chasing Arbery in their pickup truck because he was walking through their neighborhood outside this blue-collar Georgia port city. They also disagree that Travis McMichael eventually shot Arbery.

The core of the case is the question of why the three pursued Abery, whether they had the legal right to execute citizen arrests, and whether Travis McMichael took self-defense actions when Abery suddenly fled at the last moment of his life. Charge at him and fight with his gun.

According to Georgia’s Citizens Arrest Act-an decree of 1863 that was repealed six months ago, but still applies to trials because it took effect when the shooting occurred-it is legal for ordinary people to detain suspected crimes . Felony.

The question is the timing of the arrest, whether it must be carried out immediately after the suspected felony, or whether a period of time can pass.

Dunikowski argued that the former, telling the jurors that the defendant’s behavior on February 23, 2020 was not an arrest of a legitimate citizen because they were “not present at the time of the crime” and “know immediately” that Abery committed the crime. Felony.

She said that the McMichaels and Brian acted based on assumptions and rumors, and there was no reason to hunt down Abery and trap him between two pickup trucks.

The defense lawyer said that Travis McMichael saw Abery in a house under construction near them 12 days before the murder, arguing that Dunikowski misrepresented the law to the jury.

The relevant regulations stipulate: “If the crime is committed in the presence of the criminal or with his direct knowledge, the private person can arrest the criminal. If the crime is a felony and the criminal is running or attempting to escape, the private person can base on reasonable and probable reasons for suspicion Arrest him.”

Judge Timothy Walmsley (Timothy Walmsley) said that the text will be included in the instructions to the jury, which includes 1 black juror and 11 white jurors.

On Monday, Dunikowski introduced Abery’s skin color issue: She believes that these people attacked Abery, “because he is a black man running on the street.”

The defense attorney refuted the prosecution’s statement, believing that Abery was not an innocent person simply jogging on the street.

Travis McMichael’s lawyer Jason Sheffield stated that the defendant had reasonable grounds to suspect that Arbery had burgled near their home and therefore “has the right to arrest citizens”.

He said that his client believes that Arbery is a “repeated intruder” who has burgled and may have weapons.

Sheffield said that after a series of trespasses and burglaries, residents of the Satila Coast felt nervous and fearful. Security cameras captured images of Arbery in a house under construction many times, including on the day of the shooting.

On Tuesday, Dunikowski argued that the defendant did not know Abery’s intentions and there was no evidence that he burgled. The distinction is important because burglary is a felony, but trespass is a misdemeanor, and this is not a reason for arresting citizens.

She reminded the jury that neighbour Matt Albenze called a non-emergency phone number — not 911 — on February 23 to report Abery’s condition at home. Unlike the defendant, Albenze believes that Arbery’s existence is not urgent.

In arguing that the killing was an act of self-defense, Sheffield pointed out that Travis McMichael only fired after Albury bypassed the side of his truck, rushed towards him and reached for a weapon.

McMichael was “very scared,” his lawyer argued.

Dunikowski fought back and asked the jurors: “Do you really believe that he has no choice but to use his shotgun? There is no other choice?”

Brian’s lawyer tried to keep his client away from the McMichaels and pointed out that he didn’t know that they were armed until Abery was shot, and that he cooperated fully with the police and even provided them with important information about his filming. video. Took his cell phone.

Dunikoski retorted that Bryan helped McMichaels, he chased him with his pickup truck, ran him into the ditch, and then led him to McMichaels.

“It doesn’t matter who actually pulled the trigger,” she said. “According to the law, they are all guilty, even malicious murder.”

In the video taken by Bryan, Arbery can be seen running along a winding road shaded by live oaks towards a parked pickup truck. Gregory McMichael was standing on the truck bed with a pistol, and Travis McMichael holding a shotgun by the open driver’s side door.

When Arbery ran past the truck on the passenger side, the camera briefly moved away to show Arbery turning to the left and briefly disappearing from the view behind the truck. The gunfire sounded, and Abery and Travis McMichael on the driver’s side could be seen arguing on the gun. With the second shot, Abery wrestled with McMichael. The third shot was fired at close range and Abery stumbled to the ground.

Although law enforcement officials found blood on the hands of the former police officer and investigator of the local district attorney’s office, Gregory McDonald (Gregory McDonald) was not arrested after the shooting.

May 2020 – more than 10 weeks after the increasing criticism of the local attorney’s handling of the case and the shooting incident – Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged The father and son were guilty of felony murder and serious assault.

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