Two white men shot and killed a black jogger in the U.S. in February, with a video allegedly showing the crime. Now they have been arrested.
The initial lack of investigation caused outrage and demonstrations Photo: Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News/ap
The chase scene, in which two white men shoot a black jogger, takes place in broad daylight. On the open street. Right in front of the front yards of well-kept single-family homes on Satilla Drive on the outskirts of Brunswick in the state of Georgia. The two perpetrators parked their truck in the middle of the street. Jogger Ahmaud Arbery runs around the truck – straight into the deadly trap.
A third man – an accomplice of the two perpetrators – films the scene from a second car – including the three shots, the images of the two perpetrators and their weapons, and the moment when the 25-year-old jogger collapses on the asphalt. Radio music blares in the background of the video footage.
The crime happened on February 23. The video has been available to investigators since then. The two shooters in the deaths, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his 34-year-old son Travis, were at large until earlier this week, but have since been arrested. The two men are charged with murder and aggravated assault, regional investigators announced Thursday night (local time). Previously, when the Arbery family’s lawyer posted the 31-second video on Twitter, they were not even under investigation.
When a CNN reporter arrives on the scene earlier this week to film and look for people to talk to, the street is deserted. Moments later, unknown gunmen fire a volley of shots from semi-automatic weapons. No one is injured. But the threat is unmistakable.
The family of the dead man has modest wishes. "I want the two men arrested," says Wanda Cooper Jones, the dead man’s mother. She believes her son was shot because he was black. Friends of the jogger have opened a Facebook page demanding justice for him.
But it is only this week that the release of the brutal video on Twitter is stirring things up. Spokespersons for the local black community are demanding an investigation into the crime. Many of them speak of a "lynching".
Several older men say they cried while watching the video. On Tuesday, several dozen young people take to the streets to demand investigations, despite the pandemic. Among the protesters are few whites.
In the weeks between the crime and the video’s release, two local prosecutors in Georgia have declared themselves "biased." Gregory McMichael, the father, used to work for them. The video momentarily interrupts the national fixation on the pandemic.
And it becomes a political issue. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden calls it a "cold-blooded killing" and demands a trial. Numerous other opposition politicians follow his lead. The Republican Party remains silent.
The two shooters have boasted that they kept order. They claim to have observed the jogger looking at a construction site in the district. According to their description, that made the unarmed young jogger a suspect.
On Tuesday, a third Georgia prosecutor responds. Tom Duden announced that a "grand jury" would convene to review the material. Since the work of the local judiciary is currently at a standstill because of the pandemic, the earliest it will happen is mid-June.
Arbery’s friends and family don’t want to wait that long. On May 8 – the dead man’s birthday – they are calling for a solidarity run. They want to jog under the hashtag "I run with Maud" and publish their pictures on social media.