That Ahmaud Arbery’s killers are found guilty provides a small degree of relief
The three white men accused of persecuting and killing Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, last year were found guilty Wednesday of almost all the charges against them. Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, jogged, and prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said during her closing arguments Monday that the three men were pursuing him, not because he was a threat, but because he “was a black man running down the street. . “
Knowing that Arbery’s killers will be punished is a good feeling, but it’s worse to know that Arbery is dead.
Knowing that Arbery’s killers will be punished is a good feeling, but it’s worse to know that Arbery is dead. “This is not a party, “said Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Arbery’s family outside the courthouse on Wednesday.” It is a reflection to acknowledge that Ahmaud’s spirit defeated the Lynch mob. “
The defendants, of course, claimed that they believed Arbery was a burglar and that they were trying to execute a citizen’s arrest. But on Tuesday, during her refutation of the defendants’ argument, Dunikoski said, “According to the U.S. Constitution, he did not have to do anything but walk away; in this case, he ran away. And what did they do? They chased him.”
Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery with a shotgun, was convicted of all nine counts each of the three men faced: malicious murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal offenses. attempt to commit a crime.
The jury did not convict his father, Gregory McMichael, of malicious murder, but convicted him of the other eight counts. William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded the hunt and murder at Arbery, was convicted of three counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false jail and one count of criminal attempt to commit a crime.
Today, Arbery’s family should feel a small degree of relief from what must be an ongoing nightmare. Regardless of the context, it is rare that white men are ever found guilty of having killed a black man. Yes, we’ve seen it happen. But for every guilty verdict – whether it’s for Arbery’s killers or for the police officer who killed George Floyd – where black lives are recognized as a valuable thing we’ve lost, there seem to be many more acquittals that remind us that we can not trust the judicial system.
Just look at Kyle Rittenhouse.
I did not see the trial that ended last week with Rittenhouse acquitted of shooting and killing people protesting police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I already knew how that lawsuit would end and to see it felt like a fool.
There were many people in my life (not to mention many on the Internet) who held on to the hope that Rittenhouse’s trial might be different because the two men he killed were white. But that hope could only exist for those who forgot that anti-blackness in this country runs deep, so deep that white people who kill white people who protest for the lives of blacks are not punished the same.
February will mark the 10th anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman.
For example, the white people who killed Andrew Goodman and James Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1964 and Viola Liuzzo and James Reeb in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 were never convicted of murder in their respective state courts. It did not matter that their victims were white. What mattered was that their victims publicly supported black people.
Even with Wednesday’s verdicts regarding Arbery’s murder, I’m not sure the criminal justice system would honor my life if I was shot down while jogging in that Georgia neighborhood. The treatment of the results of the Rittenhouse trial and the trial of the men convicted of killing Arbery is inseparable from the fact that another person will be killed by the police or by someone who behaves as if they were the police in a little while.
Where do we find hope in all this at all?
February will mark the 10th anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death in Sanford, Florida, in the hands of George Zimmerman, who, like Rittenhouse and McMichaels and Bryan, acted as if he had authority over another. At least that shooting started for me our current conversation about how black life is so devalued that the police and even people who are not police can kill us without criminal consequences.
Martin’s death and the indignation that followed ignited enormous cultural wars throughout this country. The conversation was extended when a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot Michael Brown and killed him, and a thriving movement known as the Black Lives Matter tried to stop the violence black people are subjected to in this country.
We got to know the name Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy in Cleveland who was shot down by police while playing with a toy gun in a public park.
And the name Sandra Bland, who was ordered out of her car by a Texas State soldier during a traffic stop after she refused to put out her cigarette.
As I sat outside her funeral in Naperville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, I heard her mother screaming justice. It still has not come.
Since then, we have weakly tried to count the corpses. I contributed to “The Uncounted”, a now defunct database on The Guardian. The Washington Post Won a Pulitzer Prize for Its Database “Fatal Force“Some of us may have thought that data collection and presentation would end the epidemic.
Before the trial ended, the Arbery family requested that no “violent” protests break out when the verdict was handed down.
But just as tracing the murders of transgender people in the United States has not prevented transgender people from being murdered, tracing the number of black people killed without consequences for their killers has only served to remind us that blacks die, a lot, and that these killings do not slow down.
Before the trial ended, the Arbery family requested that no “violent” protests break out when the verdict was handed down. They made this request after members of the New Black Panther Party paraded around a coffin with the names of dead black people around the courthouse days ago. Their prayers are reminiscent of a quote from Toni Morrison, which my friend, poet Saeed Jones, tweeted. She was asked about the black uprising in Los Angeles after the white police were acquitted when she beat Rodney King.
“What struck me most about the people who burned stores down and stole was how long they waited – the restraint, not the spontaneity, the restraint,” she said in the Charlie Rose show. “They waited – how long was it? Nine months? A year? They waited for justice and it did not come.”
I think, in a strange way, that this is where I find hope today: in the fact that we as black people in America, who know all too well from slavery to the case of Arbery’s murder, that this country will do everything and everything so as not to stop the violence. But still we are pushing. And will keep pushing.