Nate Jackson / November 23, 2021

Race to Judgment in the Trial for Arbery Killing

Ahmaud Arbery’s death was not likely driven by race but by bad legal assumptions.

While the media was focused on pushing the round peg of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse into the square hole of supposed “systemic racism,” another trial is playing out that would at first glance better fit their narrative. So why isn’t the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery getting the same wall-to-wall coverage? Because a trio of white guys might actually be found guilty of murdering a black man, and that undercuts the Left’s insistence that there is “no justice” in America.

That isn’t to say the Leftmedia isn’t playing the race card. Taxpayer-funded NPR set up the case as a racial contest: “Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William ‘Roddie’ Bryan — all of whom are white — are accused of killing Arbery, who was Black.” The New York Times fretted that a “nearly all-white jury” was selected. Those are just two of myriad examples.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton showed up at the trial to help the media perpetuate this narrative, but for some reason there hasn’t been much reporting on the armed black protesters outside the courthouse.

That also isn’t to say Democrats won’t latch onto a possible guilty verdict as “proof” that our entire nation is guilty of racism. They almost certainly will. Joe “Unity” Biden likely will lead the charge, if only to distract from his own plummeting popularity, while, ironically, justifying that unpopularity.

As for the case itself, Mark Alexander wrote last year: “On 23 February, 25-year-old Arbery was pursued, shot, and killed by a former police officer, Gregory McMichael, and his son, Travis McMichael. No charges were filed at the time of the shooting and Arbery was unarmed, which is to say making a case for the use of deadly force in self defense is unlikely. The father and son claim they were responding to reports of a burglary in their neighborhood. A few minutes before the altercation, Arbery did enter a home [under construction] in their neighborhood.” Travis McMichael claimed during testimony that because Arbery “was attacking” him by fighting back, McMichael made a “life-or-death” decision to shoot.

Their friend Bryan was present and captured the altercation on video. The trio drove two trucks to pursue Arbery while he was jogging. They intended a citizen’s arrest, but it went wrong, and that Georgia law has now been largely repealed.

All the discussion about race notwithstanding, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy notes something very important: “State prosecutors have not proven, or even charged, that the three white men killed Arbery because he was black.” Instead, McCarthy says, the three made a bad “legal assumption” about Arbery based on insufficient circumstantial evidence and suspicion. In fact, we think it’s almost certain that the three men would have chased down a suspect regardless of his skin color.

“They had not seen him commit a crime, and they had no real evidence that he had done so,” McCarthy writes. “There was no legal basis to detain him, much less make a citizen’s arrest under state law. There was no basis to use force against Arbery, much less lethal force.”

That hasn’t stopped the media from injecting race into the case. Perhaps the three white men were prejudiced against a black man. Or perhaps not. As McCarthy points out, “If the elder McMichael, a former police officer, did refer to Arbery’s race [in his 911 call], it was likely because he knew that police had been showing people surveillance photos of a black man at the nearby construction lot; the man he saw running (Arbery) did in fact match the man in the surveillance photos (also Arbery).”

The prosecution is making closing arguments today, and we don’t know how long the jury will deliberate or what verdict will be reached. In the meantime, we’ll simply close with Mark Alexander’s question: “Will it be difficult for Demos and the Leftmedia to play the Arbery verdict race card when, in the same week, a black felony sex offender murdered five white people in Wisconsin and critically wounded six others?”

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