Ahmaud Arbery was killed on February 23, 2020 in Georgia. Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were originally uncharged for the murder but after the video of the incident was released the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over and charged both McMichael’s with murder and aggravated assault. The fact it took 74 days for charges to be filed is a travesty of justice but even with clear facts there are those defending the McMichael’s.
Their defenders break into two groups. First, you have grifters like Candace Owens and Liberty Hangout which thrive off telling boomers their casual racism is okay. The second group is made up of people who care more about being contrarian than about being right. These groups are making a series of arguments and I want to demolish as many of them as possible.
1. “He wasn’t jogging!!! He was wearing khaki shorts!! He was wearing boots!! He jogged a really far distance!!!”
This is a silly argument. People workout in all kinds of weird attire. I’ve seen people at the gym in jeans or collared shirts. Connor has worked out in flip flops on many occasions. It’s weird but legal.
The idea Arbery was wearing boots seems to come from a fairly obscure Reddit post which was based on a super blurry picture. I ran the picture through a photoshop detection software and the results suggest it was doctored. It could also be weird pixelation or an optical illusion. Regardless, we have a fairly good quality video from the construction site which clearly shows Arbery wearing sneakers. Unless you think he changed shoes after he left the house then he was clearly wearing sneakers.
Lastly, the idea he was miles away from his so he couldn’t have been jogging is nonsense. People distance jog all the time. Furthermore, what else was he doing? Nothing stolen was found on his body. He wasn’t traveling in a car or bike. I’ve yet to see a plausible alternative theory.
2. “He had a criminal record!!!”
He could have committed triple homicide and it wouldn’t matter to what happened on February 23. Civilians don’t have the right to hunt people down.
3. “He committed trespassing and burglary!!!!”
Arbery supposedly committed two crimes that day– trespassing and burglary. There is no evidence he committed trespassing. Yes, he was unlawfully on someone else’s property but Georgia– nor any other state to my knowledge– defines trespassing as simply being unlawfully on property. Otherwise someone could be charged for cutting across someone’s lawn. Georgia law requires unlawful presence AND damages property, commits a second crime, ignores a warning prior to entry, or ignores a command to leave after entry. Arbery did not damage the property, commit a secondary crime, and was not told to leave. Unless he was told before entering the property– which there is no evidence of– he did not commit trespassing.
Secondly, there is no evidence he committed burglary. Nothing stolen was found on his body and the property owner has said nothing was stolen.
Furthermore, the McMichael’s don’t own the property. It’s not theirs to defend.
4. “The police were on their way!!!”
Fantastic. Then they could have handled the situation and the McMichael’s actions were totally unnecessary.
5. “It was a citizen’s arrest!!!!”
First, a citizen’s arrest requires a crime. As we saw above, no crime was committed. This argument is already nonsense. Second, the McMichael’s said “stop stop, we want to talk to you.” Georgia citizen arrest statutes preclude using citizen’s arrest statutes to question suspects. The statutes require certainty and needing to ask questions undermines the claim to use that statute.
6. “Open carry is legal!!!”
Open carry is legal in Georgia. Aggravated assault in Georgia is not. When you hunt someone down, stop your truck in front of them, get out with guns drawn, and “ask” to talk that’s not open carry. That’s giving someone a “reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury” with a “deadly weapon … when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury”. That’s aggravated assault. Prior to the killing of Arbery, there was only one crime committed and it was by the McMichael’s.
7. “They just wanted to talk!!!”
If you want to “just talk” you don’t stop your truck in front of someone and get out with guns. That tends to create a hostile situation.
8. “It was self-defense!!! Arbery attacked first!!!”
You don’t get to create a dangerous situation you don’t get to claim self-defense. When someone is put in a dangerous situation and believes their life is in danger they have a right to stand their ground and defend themselves in Georgia. When you hunt someone down, stop your truck in front of them, get out with guns drawn, and “ask” to talk, that’s called creating a dangerous situation. Arbery had every right to stand his ground and defend himself.
9. “If he was just defending himself why would he go for the gun???”
What else should he have done? Their truck is faster than he was. They could aim and fire their guns before he ran out of range. Going for the gun was a reasonable decision.
10. “Race wasn’t involved!!!”
There’s no evidence one way or another and I freely admit this is pure speculation. Everyone is free to believe what they want on this point. That said, given that this happened in southern Georgia and the racial history of the region, I think it’s naive to think Arbery would be dead today if he was white.