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Opinion Black pastor: Verdict in Arbery murder case puts nation closer to fair and equal justice

01:41  25 november  2021
01:41  25 november  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

All 3 Defendants Found Guilty of Murdering Ahmaud Arbery, Black Jogger Chased Down and Shot in Georgia

  All 3 Defendants Found Guilty of Murdering Ahmaud Arbery, Black Jogger Chased Down and Shot in Georgia Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020, after being chased on a suburban Brunswick street by three men who said they believed he was a burglarAll three men charged have been found guilty for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger they believed to be a burglar running on a suburban Georgia street, who they pursued and cornered with their pickups before a physical confrontation in which one of the men fatally shot him.

Biden: Arbery murder "reminder of how far we have to go". Joe Biden has issued a statement following the guilty verdicts against Ahmaud Arbery ’s killers. “While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin. “My administration will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the supreme court, but a reality for all Americans.”

The Arbery case did not create the stark national and political divide that Rittenhouse’s did. Arbery ’s killing was condemned across the political spectrum and led the Republican-dominated Georgia legislature to pass a hate crime law, as well as overhaul the citizen’s arrest statute the defendants cited. That could make an acquittal all the more stunning, some observers said. The verdict in Rittenhouse’s case — celebrated on the right and slammed on the left — was anticipated by many legal observers who saw a strong self-defense case . Arbery ’s killing has brought no such consensus.

As a lifelong activist, a father and a pastor for more than 20 years, I have struggled on many occasions to reconcile my deep, abiding faith in God’s promise to “keep and never forsake us” with the trauma and anxiety associated with witnessing injustice after injustice when it comes to the value of Black lives in this country.

Rev. Jamal-Harris Bryant speaking outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. © New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Rev. Jamal-Harris Bryant speaking outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.

I have prayed with so many families, counseling them to have faith and trust in God while also preparing their hearts – and mine – to deal with the seemingly inevitable disappointment of a system that too often subtracts Black people out of the equation of fair and equal justice for all.

Jury to deliberate verdict in Ahmaud Arbery's death. Here are key moments from the trial.

  Jury to deliberate verdict in Ahmaud Arbery's death. Here are key moments from the trial. The jury will now decide if Travis and Greg McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan are guilty of murder and other crimes in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.How jurors decide on a verdict could ultimately hinge on how they view Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery and was the only defendant to testify.

Arbery , a 25-year old Black man, was chased by the three men and shot dead in a mostly white neighborhood in the coastal city of Brunswick in February 2020. Sharpton had attended the trial on Wednesday and conducted a prayer vigil with Arbery 's parents outside the courthouse, he said on his official (Reuters) - A lawyer for one of the three white men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery said his team did not want "any more Black pastors coming" into the Georgia courtroom after a civil rights leader attended proceedings. Thursday's comment by Kevin Gough drew sharp criticism from the Rev.

Jury finds all 3 men guilty of murder in Ahmaud Arbery ’s death. The jury reached its verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery killing on Nov. 24 in Brunswick, Ga., and found guilty on all counts. 23, 2020, shooting thrust Arbery ’s case into the national spotlight, just weeks before the murder of George Floyd by a White police officer in Minneapolis ignited mass protests against police brutality and racism. Protesters said Arbery was racially profiled while jogging and accused authorities of brushing his death aside.

Yet Wednesday, as I watched guilty verdicts announced for the three individuals charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery, I allowed myself a moment of solemn contentment and hope that perhaps we, as a country, were moving closer to realizing the promise of America to mete out blind justice.

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Without question, the guilty verdicts are an important step forward for accountability in Georgia and in this country, but we must stay vigilant and appreciate the context of this moment without falling victim to hyperbole and overstatements that would establish this outcome as evidence of a post-racial America.

COLUMN: Jury finds Ahmaud Arbery's murderers guilty. But the racist defense arguments still sting.

Brunswick GA: For Black residents of Ahmaud Arbery's hometown, trust in the justice system is on trial right alongside his accused killers

  Brunswick GA: For Black residents of Ahmaud Arbery's hometown, trust in the justice system is on trial right alongside his accused killers Carrying signs that read "Justice for Ahmaud," the demonstrators marched past majestic live oaks draped with Spanish moss. They chanted Ahmaud Arbery's name as they wound through the streets, past a hardware store, several homes, a convenience store. They rounded the corner by the floral shop, calling for those watching from the sidewalk to join them. © Elijah Nouvelage for CNN Protesters march from the Glynn County Courthouse to the Brunswick African American Cultural Center. © Elijah Nouvelage for CNN A handwritten "I Run With Maud" sign is seen on the facade of an unoccupied building in Brunswick.

The verdict was announced after two weeks of testimony and evidence in the closely watched trial , during which the McMichaels had claimed the shooting was an act of self-defense and that they had attempted to enact a citizen’s arrest. Travis McMichael was the only one of the three men to take the stand during trial , and had argued In closing arguments, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski made just a passing reference to the allegations of racial bias, stating: “they [the defendants] made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways, because he was a Black man running down the street.”

'Ahmaud Arbery ’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country,' Biden said in a statement, after retiring to Nantucket for the weekend to spend Thanksgiving at billionaire David Rubenstein's million compound. 'Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished. 'While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough.

Full stop.

In no way should this glimmer of justice deny the family of Arbery some level of resolve. But we know that our broken judicial system is strapped by laws that enable and embolden bad actors, whether in South Georgia or elsewhere. The tears, the sorrow, the loss – all were avoidable. A life was denied an opportunity to thrive. So, while we hear the bells of justice ringing, we must not go deaf to the undeniable miscarriage of justice that happens across this nation daily.

We do each other and the entire country a disservice if we forget all that had to be overcome just to have this case get to the courtroom. Arbery was murdered on Feb. 23, 2020. Video of the incident had been circulating among law enforcement, yet an arrest was not made for 74 days. In addition, it took the appointment of a fourth prosecutor – Joyette Holmes, Cobb County’s district attorney – to get an indictment in the case.

Ahmaud Arbery Trial Judge Denies Defense Request to Remove Jesse Jackson From Court

  Ahmaud Arbery Trial Judge Denies Defense Request to Remove Jesse Jackson From Court "The court is not going to single out any particular individual or group of individuals as not being allowed into his courtroom," the judge said.Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley declined to have the Reverend Jesse Jackson removed, saying Jackson was not causing any disruption to the court.

White man kidder black man, then the ‘ justice ’ system rallies around the murderer be Uss he’s a ‘good guy’ and was just acting out of ‘duty and responsibility. ‘ Fucking sickening that we are still this far behind. Despite the best efforts of the local DA people in the town were still talking about how these three lynched Arbery . So to clear their names one of the chucklefucks had his lawyer release the video to the public. Because they totally believed it would make people side with them and believe their version of events.

Ahmaud Arbery trial : defense attorney requests 'no more Black pastors in here' – video. A blood-soaked T-shirt. Jurors were shown graphic pictures of Arbery ’s autopsy, including pictures of shotgun wounds that punched a fist-sized hole in his chest and Arbery ’s white T-shirt, stained entirely red Dr Edmund Donoghue, a medical examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, testified that Arbery was hit by two of three shotgun rounds fired, adding that either blast alone would have killed him. The first shot at close range tore an artery in Arbery ’s right wrist and hit his chest, breaking several ribs

And even as the trial began, as one of the key defense attorneys called for Black pastors to be kept out of the courtroom, it became more apparent than ever the need for our community, anchored by our faith, to come together to support a mother, father, other family members and friends who lost a loved and were forced to relive their personal nightmares for days on end. While I join the chorus of people cheering after hearing the litany of guilty verdicts being announced, I am still anguished by the notion that we will be here again.

OUR VIEW: Ahmaud Arbery was murdered or, more accurately, lynched

As long as too many of our fellow citizens and neighbors are led by their prejudice, bigotry and intolerance and we are governed by a criminal justice system that is too white, too male, too antiquated, and so rigidly structured to the detriment of Black people, we are certain to be here again.

This moment calls for us to delve deeper and with more resolve to address the systemic inequities of our criminal justice system. As a community and as a nation, we can’t spare the potential of greatness that we lose every time an Arbrey is struck down. His life and too many lives prematurely extinguished by hate and violence hold so much promise for their families and their communities. That is what brought pastors, bishops and faith leaders of all stripes to pray at the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.

Travis McMichael testifies he wasn't under threat during pickup chase before fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery

  Travis McMichael testifies he wasn't under threat during pickup chase before fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery Travis McMichael returned to the stand under cross-examination on Thursday, then the defense rested its case in the Georgia murder trial.Travis McMichael also told prosecutors he did not tell police some of the details about the pursuit that he shared in court on Wednesday.

We knew this time had to be different and justice had to show its face to this family, this community and this country.

Georgia’s most heralded son, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., eloquently stated that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Today, we bent the arc a little more in the favor of justice and tomorrow as we gather around our holiday tables, we will be thankful that a portion of justice has been served.

At the heart of this moment, we embrace this glimmer of justice served in this verdict but realize our efforts cannot cease as we work to uproot systemic racism in our nation.

I want to commend the many pastors, bishops and faith leaders of all stripes who stood with Arbery’s family and the Brunswick community throughout this process. Let this be confirmation that there is power in unity and that we must work and walk together as we fight for an America as good as its promise.

Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant serves as Senior Pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Georgia. He is an author, philanthropist and activist. He was one of many pastors who gathered outside of the courthouse during the trial in the Arbery murder case.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Black pastor: Verdict in Arbery murder case puts nation closer to fair and equal justice

Ahmaud Arbery killing trial: Here's what we've learned so far before closing arguments .
After 10 days of court proceedings with more than 20 witnesses and investigators providing testimony, prosecutors and defense attorneys will begin closing arguments Monday in the trial over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. © Stephen B. Morton/AP Hundreds of pastors rally outside the Glynn County Courthouse, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The trial has touched on multiple conversations occurring in state legislatures and courtrooms, from the role of race in the criminal justice system and how video evidence can spur action, to self-defense rights and the consequences of using firearms on public streets.

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