An African American man running through a Georgia neighborhood was pursued, shot, and killed by a white man and his father.
According to Blavity, retired district attorney investigator Greg McMichael saw Ahmaud Arbery, 25, sprinting past his home in Brunswick, Georgia. Believing he was a robbery suspect, McMichael alerted his adult son, Travis McMichael, and both men grabbed their guns and followed Arbery in a truck.
“Stop, stop. We want to talk to you,” the men said to Arbery.
After a struggle over a shotgun the son was carrying, Arbery was shot at least twice and killed.
The Glynn County Police Department released its report on the deadly incident Tuesday. McMichael thought Arbery looked like the suspect in several recent break-ins. However, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper, believes her son was judged because of the color of his skin.
The two men have not been arrested or charged. George Barnhill, a prosecutor in the case, told the police in a letter that McMichael and his son acted within the state’s citizen’s arrest law and Travis acted out of self-defense.
However, Barnhill, the district attorney for Georgia’s Waycross Judicial Circuit, was recused from the case due to a conflict of interest. Barnhill’s son works in the Brunswick district attorney’s office, which had previously employed McMichael.
Arbery was wearing a white t-shirt, khaki shorts, Nike sneakers, and a bandana at the time of the incident, according to The New York Times. The report did not indicate if Arbery was wearing the bandana on his face
However, activists believe even if Arbery was attempting to commit a crime, he should not have been chased or shot by the two.
“This incident was at the least a case of overly zealous citizens that wrongfully profiled the victim without cause,” said Rev. John Davis Perry II, the president of the Brunswick chapter of the NAACP. “These men felt justified in taking the law in their own hands.”
Friends and family of Arbery are now worried the case won’t get attention due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We can’t do anything because of this corona stuff,” said Cooper. “We thought about walking out where the shooting occurred, just doing a little march but we can’t be out right now.”
The incident comes less than a month after Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker sent a letter to the Justice Department asking for guidance for police officers dealing with people of color wearing face coverings. African Americans are worried about interacting with police while wearing face masks.
Arbery was killed three days before the eighth anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin.