Opinion: There is no conceivable justification for the defense’s treatment of Ahmaud Arbery

The details of the case itself are stunning. According to his family, Arbery – a runner – went out for a run. Two white men, concerned about local break-ins, snatched their guns, jumped into the truck, and pursued Arbery, which was then joined by a third white man. One of them shot and killed Arbery with a shotgun. McMichaels say they defended themselves while trying to make “arrest of a citizen” – but Travis McMichael testified in court Arbery never threatened any of the men currently on trial for his murder.
That a group of white men feel justified in chasing a Black man through their neighborhood – even a man they believe has committed the theft (which is not a crime). crime) – and then feeling they deserved to get out of the house after one of them shot him dead is serious enough. But compounding this severity is Racist attack is launched on the victim by a member of the defense team. On Monday, defense attorney Laura Hogue went further, saying in her final argument in the case, “Victimizing Ahmaud Arbery after the choices he made do not reflect reality. what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails.”
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Does the condition of Arbery’s toenails have anything to do with whether the person who shot him committed murder? Are not. There is no conceivable justification for Hogue, as an advocate for his clients, to quote such details, other than a blatant attempt to paint a picture bearing the code. race number in the jurors’ mind that Arbery was inferior to humans, as a filthy beast a legitimate threat. Someone whose members of the jury—nearly all of them are white—may also not want to be in their vicinity. It appears to be a naked plot to weaponize White’s fear to secure an acquittal for her client.

Arbery’s mother left the courtroom in shock and disgust. She told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, she was appalled when the defense tried to “dehumanize” her son.
It’s a shameful performance, and the kind of tactic of assassinating characters by someone who doesn’t believe they can win on merit. “Literally, after the men in that courtroom assassinated their kid, now they’re sitting here assassinating his character,” speak family attorney Benjamin Crump.
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It’s also a familiar ploy in the sad long history of racist violence in the United States. Time and again, Black victims were dumped in the trash and their names tarnished after their deaths in an attempt to justify violence against them. This portrait going back to the days of slavery, and especially the Reconstruction period, when many whites felt threatened by the nascent Black freedom. Lynching and murder, including the murder of Emmett Till, a child, were justified by claims that Black men and boys raped or assaulted white women. The image of Black men as brute force and barbarism is poignantly captured in the pro-Ku-Klux-Klan film “Birth of a Nation.”
In some cases, decades and more than a century later, these portraits have changed, but they have not disappeared. When whites commit violence against blacks, black men, women, and even children frequently slandered Scary, menacing, and beastly, the message is that a white attacker or killer is acting in self-defense – and the Black victim has arrived.
This analogy is still used so often that “he’s not an angel” – the line put out, often by conservatives and even some mainstream news agencies, after the murders and murders of Black children – was interpreted by many as a cliché hoax. Even 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot by police while he was on the playground, has Is called a “thug” of a police union president and blamed for his own death.

And now here’s Arbery, with his toenail condition used to justify his murderous actions.

The question now is whether the judges will blame it – or whether, after so many changes and so many things remaining the same, how will they find these disgusting tactics. I hope that as they weigh, whatever outcome they reach, they will refuse to blame this attempted victim and pursue justice for Ahmaud Arbery. But the long history that has set the stage for Arbery’s murder, and that is affecting the defense strategies of his pursuers and the one who pulled the trigger, won’t disappear when the jury is out. make a judgment. It is up to all of us: To name these racists, to understand their insidiousness and to reject them.


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