On Monday November 15, 2021, testimonies in the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery entered into its seventh day. Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man, was murdered in Brunswick, GA, on Feb. 23, 2020, while jogging. Three white men, Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan, are being tried for the murder. On Monday, the judge in the murder trial denied a defense attorney's request to remove Black civil rights leaders and religious figures, especially Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, from the courtroom.
As the evidences and testimonies are being presented to the jury, the questions appear to be focusing on why Ahmaud Arbery was killed while simply jogging.
The cold blooded murder of Ahmaud Arbery was one of several killing of Black men across the U.S. in 2020 (See here: Brunswick - Georgia - USA: Accountability for Murder of Ahmaud Arbery on Line). The murder has highlighed the issues of racial justice in the United States and has helped ignite a wave of protests by activists and others seeking justice reform in the US.
Renown Black civil rights leaders Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton have joined Arbery's family during the trial. Last week, one defense attorney lawyer, Kevin Gough, referring to Rev Al Sharpton presence, argued that "high-profile members of the African American community" were "intimidating" the jury and added that he did not want more Black pastors showing up in the courtroom. Also, when Arbery's mother was heard weeping after watching the video of the killing of her son, he suggested that the cries appeared to influence the jury. He later apologized for the comments, but the damage appeared to have already been done.
On Monday November 15, 2021, Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson joined Arbery's family in the courtroom. The defense attorney referred to his presence when seeking a motion for mistrial.
Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the motion for mistrial, pointing to the fact that the presence of Rev. Jesse Jackson was not even noticeable before the motion was raised.
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Hence, on Monday, Judge Timothy Walmsley rejected, for the second time, defense attorney Kevin Gough's request to bar Black civil rights leaders and pastors from the courtroom.
"At this point, it's almost as if you’re just trying to continue this for purposes other than just bringing it to the court’s attention and I find that objectionable," Judge Timothy Walmsley said, adding: "I’m done talking about it, Mr. Gough," and condemning Kevin Gough's comments from last week for being "reprehensible."
"That was maybe something that has influenced what is going on here. So you need to understand, everybody, that your words in this courtroom, have an impact on a lot of what's going on here, " Judge Timothy Walmsley said.
Rev Jesse Jackson, while addressing the media, Arbery family supporters, and other people outside the courthouse, defied the defense argument and vowed to stay for the entire week.
There are reports that other civil rights and racial justice activists, including hundreds of Black pastors are expected to travel to Brunswick and to hold a rally and to march in support of the Arbery family.
Meanwhile, the videos of killing shown in the courtroom to the jury appear to clearly point to an unprovoked or unjustified chase of Ahmaud Arbery while on his routine jogging.
Prosecutors argued that evidences clearly show that Ahmaud Arbery was killed for jogging in a white neighborhood while Black.
© 2021 AfroAmerica Network
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