Ahmaud Arbery: Trial over black jogger's death begins

3 months ago 32

Fast Legal Services in Dubai

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Ahmaud Arbery's murder sparked outrage in Georgia and across the US

Jury selection begins on Monday in the trial of three American men who fatally shot a black jogger in February last year.

Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbour William Bryan are accused of confronting and murdering Ahmaud Arbery, 25.

Footage from the incident was leaked online, sparking a national outcry over the everyday racism black people face.

Black activists have called the slaying a "modern-day lynching".

Twelve jurors will be selected from a jury pool of up to 1,000 Glynn County residents to preside over the case.

The three defendants have each been charged with nine counts, including malice murder and aggravated assault.

But the men maintain they did nothing wrong and have pleaded not guilty. At the time, they said, there was reason to believe Mr Arbery had been looting properties in their Satilla Shores neighbourhood.

Their attorneys will argue they were acting within the bounds of Georgia's 'citizen's arrest' law, which allows private citizens to apprehend suspected criminals.

In the wake of Mr Arbery's murder, Georgia lawmakers repealed the Civil War-era legislation.

Image source, Family photo

Image caption, Ahmaud Arbery

Race looms large over the case. Prosecutors are expected to accuse the McMichaels, who are white, of racial vigilantism.

They will point out that there is no firm evidence Mr Arbery was the area burglar.

Meanwhile, they have brought forward evidence that Travis McMichael uttered a racist slur as Mr Arbery lay bleeding on the street, as well as in casual albeit unrelated phone conversations.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury indicted the three suspects on hate crime charges. A separate trial in that case begins in February.

Media caption, The perils of jogging when you're black

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Fast Legal Services in Dubai

Fast Legal Services in Dubai