This past Thursday, May 7ᵗʰ, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, a father and son lynch crew, were arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man on the eve of his 26ᵗʰ birthday. We’ve all seen the video of this racist, lynch-style murder that went public more than two months ago.
A Black man is hunted and gunned down and it takes two months before an arrest. Two months after seeing the video before the District Attorney, George Barnhill, files charges. The mass media has it wrong. The release of the video of this lynching is not what moved the D.A. to press charges (he had the video for 75 days). In fact, there would have been no arrests in the absence of public outrage and Ahmaud Arbery’s family demanding justice.
We have seen this travesty of justice shown before; we saw it here in Chicago when killer cop Jason Van Dyke murdered Laquan McDonald. In that case, too, Laquan was called the aggressor, even though he was the prey. In that case, too, they said it was self-defense, even though they attacked him. In that case, too, the police and D.A. viewed the video and said there was no reason to press charges. In that case, too, it took the video to be leaked and the public to cry out for justice before anything happened. That is why we must all support the demands of Arbery’s family.
The lynching of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragic phenomenon we have been seeing repeated throughout the land since Travon Martin was stalked and murdered by the vigilante, George Zimmerman. These white supremacists—both police and vigilantes—have been allowed to murder unarmed Black people with impunity. Before, during and after this pandemic they will continue to lynch us until we stop them. It’s not enough to be outraged. We need to demand that the D.A. be fired, that a special prosecutor (vetted by the community) be appointed, and that the murderers be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
But already this is another lynching with impunity! It was two months before the known killers were arrested. THAT'S IMPUNITY! Whose fault is this? When the victim was hunted down and murdered whose fault was it that no one was arrested for over two months? It’s law enforcement that criminalizes us but does nothing about the criminals that prey upon us. It’s their fault! We know who’s responsible and it’s our responsibility to hold them accountable. No worries, there will be a reckoning if you don’t arrest, convict and send these racist killers to jail.
We stand united with the Black people of Brunswick, Georgia and NAACP Vice President, Gerald Griggs, who said: “We will not allow African Americans to be killed in this state with impunity. We will demand punishment with the fullest extent of the law.”
Yours in united struggle,
Executive Director, National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
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