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Ahmaud Arbery Murder Case Full Timeline: What We Know So Far

The racially charged murder of a black jogger in the US state of Georgia has gained national attention. The community is on edge as the trial draws to a close, waiting to see what will happen. On 23 February 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was shot during an altercation with Gregory and Travis McMichael. It took more than two months for the men to be detained, as well as the neighbor who recorded the scene.

Mr Arbery’s family has called his death a “modern-day lynching,” while attorneys for the deceased have referred to it as a “lynching.” The McMichaels maintain that they were making a “citizen’s arrest” when they attempted to subdue him. Here’s what we know thus far. Ahmaud Arbery Murder Case Full Timeline: What We Know So Far.

Ahmaud Arbery case: Who is on trial?

In May 2018, Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis, 35, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52 were arrested. Mr Bryan has assisted the McMichaels in their quest for Mr Arbery. They each face nine counts including murder and aggravated assault. They have pleaded not guilty.

According to the charges, Travis McMichael used a racial slur and a profane term at Mr Arbery while he was on the ground. The men in question deny being racists.

What has happened in the trial?

From the prosecutors:

The defense has argued that race was a major motivation behind the case. Linda Dunikoski, the lead prosecutor, said in her opening statement: “All three of these defendants did everything they did based on assumptions — not facts, not evidence.”

On November 8, the jury was shown video from police body cameras taken just after Mr Arbery’s death. In an effort to counter the defense’s allegation that the three men were only attempting to detain Mr Arbery, prosecutors used the film in court.

“You had no choice,” the elder McMichael is heard telling Travis as the first officer approaches. Mr Arbery is shown on the ground just a few steps away.

On 16 November, the prosecution rested its case after exhibiting graphic images of Mr Arbery’s shotgun wounds to the jury. Ms Dunikoski said that the defendants “assumed” Mr Arbery had committed a crime and attempted to unlawfully detain him “without legal authority,” in her final argument on 22 November.”

“You can’t put yourself in a position where you’re fighting and then act like, ‘I was defending myself,’ ” Ms Dunikoski said, noting that all three defendants had acted because Mr Arbery was a black man running down the street.

Only one black person was seated on the jury, despite vigorous objections from the prosecution. The 12-person jury includes just one black individual, who has been selected by a process of elimination and protests from prosecutors. nUnder examination, several defense attorneys eliminated potential African-American jurors for their prior preconceptions about the case.

From the defence:

The defense has employed a two-part strategy: citizen’s arrest and self-defense. “It was obvious that he was attacking me, that if he had gotten the shotgun from me, it was a life-or-death situation,” Travis McMichael told the court.

He spoke in police jargon and shed tears on the stand, saying he thought of his young son during the confrontation.

During his closing statement, defense counsel Jason Sheffield argued that Travis McMichael had spent a decade “learning about duty and responsibility” while in the United States Coast Guard. He also maintained that Mr Arbery’s actions were legal, saying that Mr Arbery was afraid of Mr Arbery having a weapon.

“You do have the right to stop a person and hold them and detain them for the police,” Mr Sheffield said. “There’s a risk with that, and tragic consequences that can come from that.”

Mr Sheffield’s comments were mirrored by Laura Hogue, who is defending Gregory McMichael. Ms Hogue said that a “good community is always policing itself,” and referred to Mr Arbery as a “recurring night-time intrudrner” that would not stop when confronted.

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Who was Ahmaud Arbery?

Mr. Arbery was a former star high school football player, according to his father. He frequently exercised in the neighborhood, according to his father. Mr. Arbery’s family said he was a kind and generous young man with a big heart. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, when Mr Arbery attended high school, he received five years of probation for a first-time weapons offense and in 2018 was convicted of probation violation for shoplifting.

It was revealed that, in 2017, a Glynn County officer attempted to tase him after he refused their request to search his vehicle at a park. Bodycam video showed the confrontation with cops who said he was in a vehicle in an area known for drug use. He noted that it was his day off from work. The taser malfunctioned, and he was permitted to depart on foot owing to the fact that it failed.

How did he die?

On February 23, 2020, Mr Arbery was out for an afternoon run in Brunswick. The elder McMichael, a local resident, claimed that Mr Arbery looked like the perpetrator of a series of local burglaries to police. Police have confirmed that no reports were made regarding these alleged break-ins.

The McMichaels armed themselves with a pistol and a shotgun and set off in pursuit of Mr Arbery in a pickup truck across the community. Mr Bryan later joined the chase.

Mr Arbery was unarmed, according to the younger McMichael. During trial, he stated that he attempted to communicate with Mr Arbery as they were still in their vehicle, but that Mr Arbery never threatened or brandished a weapon, pulled out his pockets, or yelled after being challenged.

During the struggle, Mr McMichael pulled out a pump-action shotgun and fired it at Mr Arbery. He said he was defending himself because Mr Arbery had grabbed for his weapon. Three shots were discharged. The postmortem examination revealed that Mr Arbery had two bullet wounds to the chest, as well as a gunshot graze wound on one of his wrists.

What is the key footage?

On May 5, 2020, a 36-second video taken from a car behind Mr Arbery was leaked to the media. It shows Mr Arbery attempting to swerve around a pickup truck in front of him on the highway before struggling with a guy carrying a shotgun. There is shouting that is hard to make out, and three gunshots are heard.

The second armed man is then seen standing beside the other man with a gun, who was standing on the ground next to the pickup’s bed. The jogger has vanished from view. According to reports, the video was leaked at the request of Gregory McMichael because he believed it would make him and his son appear better.

Four weeks later, CCTV footage captured a black male in a white T-shirt – said to be Mr Arbery – on a home construction site shortly before the shooting. He appears walking onto the location and looking around for several minutes before jogging down the street.

During the case, the site’s owner, Larry English Jr., stated that no one had victimized or damaged his property during their visit. He went on to claim that other people had been seen straddling his fence but that he never gave permission for the McMichaels to enter his premises or speak with anybody.

The jury was also shown CCTV surveillance footage of the armed McMichasels searching for a suspected intruder at Mr English’s property on the night of April 20, 2020.

According to police reports, there was one theft in the vicinity between January 1 and February 23, 2020. On January 1, Travis McMichael’s handgun vanished from his family’s unlocked pickup truck in the neighborhood.
What’s the law in Georgia?

An individual under the citizen’s arrest statute may hold someone they had seen commit a major crime if the suspect attempted to flee. The state legislation, which dates back to the American Civil War era, was repealed in response to the event.

Georgia had no hate crime laws when the murders occurred. Hate crime laws have since been enacted in the state. The McMichaels, who are scheduled to go on trial in early 2019, are accused of committing hate crimes and attempted kidnapping against Mr Arbery. They have denied all charges.

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