It’d be nice to say that Ahmaud Arbery was always going to get justice for his murder. Unfortunately, the American justice system doesn’t work that way.
It never has.
And this is especially true if you’re a person of color in America.
Even if Gregory and Travis McMichaels are ultimately found guilty of Arbery’s murder , the lapse in time between his wrongful death and their arrests demonstrates that true justice doesn’t exist for Black men and women in the United States.
In February 2020, Arbery was jogging in a residential district in Brunswick, GA. Though the city bills itself as “unique, historic, and the main urban and economic center of the Southeast United States,” the town’s news headlines betray the truth.
This is not the cosmopolitan and progressive Southern utopia it wants you to think it is.
Just one month before the McMichaels were formally arrested and charged with Ahmaud Arbery’s murder, the local Brunswick press was portraying him as a thug and a hardened criminal .
Naturally, too, the McMichaels were being depicted as local heroes who were just “fed up” with break-ins happening in their ritzy Satilla Shores neighborhood.
Never mind the implicit undertone of Arbery not “belonging in these parts ’round here.”
The McMichaels were walking free until yesterday when they were charged with murder and aggravated assault.
It took the release of a now-viral video depicting Ahmaud Arbery’s brutal murder to get the McMichaels in handcuffs.
Much ado has been made about the fact that Gregory McMichael worked as an investigator for the district attorney’s office, which afforded him a perceived layer of protection.
And though the elder McMichael was seen being “chummy” with Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp , the governor had a strong condemnation for McMichael’s actions after McMichael’s arrest.
Earlier this week, I watched a video depicting Mr. Arbery’s last moments alive. It is absolutely horrific, and Georgians deserve answers. I have confidence in Vic Reynolds and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. I know they will work around the clock to thoroughly and independently investigate Mr. Arbery’s death to find the truth. In these moments, please pray for his loved ones, the local community, and our state.
Kemp’s words are strong. But they’re far too little and far too late.
Justice delayed is justice denied. And it shouldn’t depend on a video going viral.
Ahmaud Arbery deserved better.