Although the Rittenhouse trial was a farce, it's reassuring to see that the rule of law is still followed elsewhere in the country.
Yesterday, a jury in Georgia found all thee defendants in the Ahmaud Arbery case guilty of murder.
Prosecutors argued that the defendants provoked a confrontation, and the defense said that their clients were acting in self defense, which were precisely the arguments in the Rittenhouse case. All three men face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Derek Chauvin was convicted because a bystander caught him on film with her camera.
In the Arbery case, a neighbor , William Bryan, also took a video with his camera, and it was a major factor in getting the guilty guys convicted, since the jury watched it twice. Federal authorities have charged both shooters with a hate crime.
Ironically, the video also resulted in a guilty verdict for the neighbor who took the video.
The difference between the Arbery case and the Rittenhouse case is that the judge in Georgia was not biased.
In 1955, an all white jury found the defendants in the Emmett Till case to be innocent, and their verdict was delivered in less than an hour. (A year later, they admitted their guilt to Look magazine, but the "double jeopardy" rule prevented them from being charged a second time.)
The jury in the Arbery case was predominantly white, and they deliberated for more than a day before coming to their guilt verdict.
The Washington Post provided more details about the Arbery Case this morning.
The first news story about the Feb. 23, 2020, shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a mere four paragraphs, offered little detail about what led to the death of the 25-year-old.
In the small coastal Georgia town of Brunswick, rumors swirled about a Black man who was shot while being pursued by two armed White men in a pickup truck, but no one was charged and the case received little attention nationally. It wasn’t until May 5, when a local radio station uploaded graphic footage of the deadly chase, that widespread outrage ensued. Two days later — 74 days after Arbery was killed while on a jog — arrests were made.
The convictions of Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Greg McMichael, 65, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, on Wednesday raised recollections of the beginning of the case when police let the men walk free and two prosecutors did not press charges. Yet, after just two days of deliberations, the jury found the three men guilty of murder and other charges for the pursuit and fatal shooting of Arbery.
In an unlikely turn of events, Greg McMichael, with the help of attorney Alan Tucker, brought Bryan’s unsteady cellphone footage to radio station WGIG with the hope of absolving the men in the court of public opinion, WSB-TV Channel 2 reported. Instead, the video published online by the radio station surfaced questions nationwide about racial profiling and the lack of criminal charges. University of Maryland sociology professor Rashawn Ray said there wouldn’t have been a trial, let alone a conviction, without the video repeatedly aired in court after Greg McMichael made it public.
Another reason why newspapers are important is that a reporter for the Brunswick News, Larry Hobbs, published four stories about the case before he was able to obtain the police report. The police would not answer his questions, or even tell him the victim's name.
Former Georgia district attorney Jackie Johnson has been arrested on charges of obstruction of justice in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was pursued and gunned down as he jogged through a Brunswick neighborhood last year.
Johnson was the county’s top prosecutor when Arbery was fatally shot last year, and one of the armed men who pursued him had worked for her as an investigator. She reportedly ordered officers not to press charges against the assailant.