After Ahmaud Arbery, the Question of Justice Remains
By: BRANDY THOMAS / CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The name Ahmaud Arbery has become relevant in the majority of the households in the United States today.
At the center of this racially charged case were three men accused of killing the 25-year-old in February 2020. A case that Arbery's family lawyers have called a "modern-day lynching, the trial of the three white men has seen American society glued to different media channels following up with the proceedings.
Arbery was killed after getting into a confrontation with Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, while the McMichael's neighbor William Bryan joined their pursuit of Arbery and recorded the incident on his phone.
Despite the murder case having been reported promptly, it took over two and a half for the police to finally arrest the three men involved.
The rationale behind the outstanding nature of the Ahmaud Arbery case is the fact that it sparks the discussion of racism.
Racism has been a huge challenge that has repeatedly painted the pale image of the United States to the international community.
Despite fighting hard to see the embracement of democracy across the globe, the internal affairs of the United States citizens still need straightening out.
While the United States has increasingly perceived itself as a first-world country that respects all people with equality, racial backgrounds notwithstanding, for marginalized communities, this perception is far from reality.
In 2020, during the height of the global coronavirus pandemic, the whole world was shocked to see a police officer choke George Floyd, a man of African-American descent, to death.
The most shocking aspect of the George Floyd case was that it took months, irrespective of clear video footage of Floyd's killing, for Floyd’s murderer to be sentenced by the courts.
Finally, 22 months after the fatal shooting of Arbery, the McMichaels and Bryan were found guilty of murder.
The decision was made following a ten-day hearing of the case that had the attention of the entire nation.
During the hearing, the prosecution argued that Arbery was in no way posing an imminent danger to the McMichaels and Bryan for them to confront him.
As such, the three men had no legal justification to pursue Arbery, let alone open fire at him.
To those who supported the prosecution’s argument, the jury's verdict was good news that brings hope for fair treatment of members of minority groups.
However, despite Arbery's family seeing a form of justice being served, the fact that it took so long, with prosecutor after prosecutor initially rescuing themselves from the case, highlights the reality that the United States justice system allows bias to compromise justice.
Therefore, while the family of Ahmaud Arbery can see the murderers of their beloved go behind bars, there is no surety that this marks the end of racial murders in the U.S., especially amongst members of the African-American community.
In the recent past, murders of African-Americans by either police or by civilians who are later protected by the police and the justice system have been on the rise.
Following the verdict of the Ahmaud Arbery case, it is time to see if minority communities can start trusting the justice system to serve them with due diligence.