Ahmaud Arbery trial: Opening statements begin with nearly all-white jury – National

Opening statements started Friday within the homicide trial of three white males charged within the taking pictures demise of Ahmaud Arbery, with a prosecutor telling jurors that defective assumptions led them to chase down the 25-year-old Black man. Arbery’s killing was largely ignored till a leaked cellphone video stirred outrage that deepened a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice.

Greg McMichael and his grownup son, Travis McMichael, armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck as he ran by their neighborhood simply exterior the Georgia port metropolis of Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded graphic video of Travis McMichael taking pictures Arbery thrice with a shotgun.

“All three of those defendants did all the pieces they did based mostly on assumptions — not on details, not on proof,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski advised the jury because the trial started Friday morning. “They usually made selections of their driveways based mostly on these assumptinos that took a younger man’s life.”

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Learn extra:
Ahmaud Arbery trial — Jury selection challenged by small town connections

Georgia’s response to the killing has grow to be a part of a broader effort to handle racial injustice within the prison authorized system after a string of deadly encounters between police and Black folks corresponding to George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

Superior Court docket Choose Timothy Walmsley swore within the disproportionately white jury Friday earlier than proceedings started. All three defendants are standing trial collectively, charged with homicide and different felony counts.

Arbery had been lifeless for greater than two months earlier than the McMichaels and Bryan had been charged and jailed final 12 months. Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for the native district legal professional, advised police the boys had been making an attempt to cease Arbery as a result of they suspected he was a burglar. Safety cameras had recorded him getting into a close-by home underneath building.

Greg McMichael stated his son killed Arbery in self-defense after Arbery attacked along with his fists and tried to take Travis McMichael’s gun.

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Prosecutors say Arbery was merely out jogging, was unarmed and had dedicated no crimes within the neighborhood. When Bryan’s video of the killing leaked on-line in Might 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from native police. GBI brokers arrested the McMichaels the subsequent day, and charged Bryan two weeks later.

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The killing of Arbery has dominated information tales and social media feeds in Brunswick and surrounding Glynn County, a coastal group of about 85,000 folks.

It took the choose and attorneys 2 1/2 weeks to pick out a jury. Almost 200 folks summoned to jury responsibility had been questioned extensively about what they knew concerning the case, what number of instances that they had seen the video and if that they had any private connection to Arbery or the defendants.

Controversy erupted on Wednesday, the ultimate day of jury choice, when prosecutors objected to a remaining jury consisting of 11 whites and one Black juror. They argued that protection attorneys had lower eight potential jurors from the ultimate panel as a result of they’re Black, which the U.S. Supreme Court docket has declared unconstitutional.

Learn extra:
Anniversary of Ahmaud Arbery’s death marked by vigils, marches and a new lawsuit

The choose agreed there gave the impression to be “intentional discrimination,” however stated Georgia regulation restricted his authority to intervene as a result of protection attorneys said non-racial causes for excluding Black panelists from the jury.

One juror, a white girl, was dismissed Thursday for medical causes. Fifteen whole panelists will hear the trial — 12 jurors plus three alternates. The choose has not given the races of the alternate jurors, they usually weren’t requested to state their race in open court docket.

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Court docket officers have stated the trial might final two weeks or extra.

If the defendants are acquitted, their authorized troubles received’t be over. They’ve additionally been indicted on federal hate crime expenses. A U.S. District Court docket choose has scheduled that trial to start Feb. 7.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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