On Tuesday, video was released showing the graphic shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. Arbery was unarmed and on a jog through a predominantly white neighborhood when Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael shot him after a brief struggle. The release of the video resulted in a Georgia prosecutor recommending the case be presented before a grand jury. To many activists and the parents of Arbery, this is not enough.
The Brunswick News reports that Arbery’s parents want the men responsible for his death to be arrested immediately. As courts are closed due to the coronavirus, it may be a month or longer before charges could even consider being filed. Wanda Jones, Arbery’s mother, told reporters Wednesday that the 25-year-old “was just out for his daily jog.” She hasn’t watched the video of the incident, saying “I saw my son come into the world. And seeing him leave the world, it’s not something that I’ll want to see ever.”
Attorneys for the family want the two men to be placed into custody before the grand jury decides to indict them, as is typical in criminal cases.
The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus has also joined the family in requesting expedited justice. “The two assailants need to be in jail. Every day they walk as free individuals is an insult to the Arbery family and all who believe in justice. For the time they have walked free without incrimination and the pursuit of justice is a criminal act by those who have allowed the injustice of covering up this crime that is punishable by law.” The Caucus said in a released statement.
After the release of the video, many took to social media to voice their disgust and horror.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed on Wednesday that they are now investigating the case. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, wants the federal government to investigate the case as a hate crime. “These men were vigilantes, they were a posse and they performed a modern lynching in the middle of the day,” Merritt said. According to AJC, Arbery’s killing has renewed calls by Georgia lawmakers for the state to adopt tougher hate crime legislation. One such measure passed in the Georgia House last year but ultimately died in the state Senate.
Friday would’ve been Arbery’s 26th birthday. The Georgia NAACP has planned to protest with his family at the Glynn County Courthouse. Additionally, activists have planned to run 2.23 miles on Friday to honor Arbery, according to CBS News. The miles are meant to signify the date he was killed.