February 23 started out as a normal day for 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud, a football player, was out for a run, just jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia. He had no idea that February 23 would be the day he died.
While Ahmaud jogged, he was spotted by ex-police officer Gregory McMichael. McMichael saw Ahmaud, a young African American man, running, and immediately assumed Ahmaud was a criminal. McMichael ran home to ask his son Travis for help “confronting” Ahmaud Arbery. Both men grabbed guns because “they didn’t know” if Ahmaud was armed.
According to Greg McMichael, he and Travis began following Ahmaud in their truck, attempting to cut him off. Ahmaud turned and attempted to continue his run in the opposite direction, which is when Greg McMichael stopped the truck next to Ahmaud and Travis jumped out, armed with a shotgun.
Greg McMichael told police Ahmaud “attacked” Travis. However, video taken during the murder shows that is, in fact, not true. As Ahmaud approached a curve, McMichael’s truck was blocking the road. Ahmaud ran around the truck, and Travis McMichael was already out on the street, with his shotgun. You cannot hear what’s being said in the video, but one would presume Travis and/or Greg were yelling at Ahmaud.
Ahmaud is a young African American man, being confronted by armed, angry white men. It is likely that at this point, Ahmaud realizes he is fighting for his life. He struggles with Travis McMichael, trying to disarm him, trying to survive. From the truck, Greg McMichael fires his gun. A second shot rings out. Ahmaud staggers back, and collapses onto the street.
Greg and Travis McMichael hunted Ahmaud Arbery on February 23. Armed with racism and guns, they blocked Ahmaud’s path, attacked him, and shot him to death, all because they could not believe a young African American man could be innocent.
In the two months since Ahmaud’s murder, nothing has happened. A prosecutor determined earlier this year there was a lack of probable cause to bring charges against Greg and Travis McMichael. Many people first learned of this racist crime yesterday, when the cell phone video began circulating on Twitter. And now, a Georgia district attorney has ruled a grand jury should be convened to decide if charges can be brought against Greg and Travis McMichael.
Imagine on February 23, a 25-year-old white man had been jogging down the road when two African American men blocked his path. Imagine both black men were armed with guns. Imagine one of those black men had shot and killed a 25-year-old unarmed white man. Would we be hearing about this two months after the fact? Would those two black men have been questioned by police, then allowed to just go home? Would a prosecutor have determined there was no probable cause to bring charges?
Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down in the street because of his skin color. His murderer(s) were allowed to simply go home because of their skin color. A prosecutor decided there was no probable cause to charge Greg and Travis McMichael because Ahmaud was African American and the McMichaels are white.
No one knows what a grand jury will decide, if Greg and Travis McMichael will ever have to answer for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. What is certain is that Ahmaud will not be the last African American murdered because of the color of his skin.