Three found guilty of murder in Ahmaud Arbery case

November 24, 2021 • 1:38 pm

I hope that those people who beefed about the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse as an instance of white supremacy will mute their cries that there’s no justice for black people, for this afternoon there was a verdict that, as far as I can see, was eminently just.

An innocent black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was shot to death in Georgia by one of three white men who were practicing vigilante justice with no cause other than the Arbery’s race. They said they were attempting a “citizen’s arrest” when Arbery, who had no weapon, tried to grab one of the vigilantes’ guns, and was himself gunned down. But there was video, and it didn’t support their story. All three men were convicted this afternoon. 

The convicted murderers, Travis McMichael, 35; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65; and their neighbor William Bryan, 52, will likely get life in prison. And that’s just the beginning for them, for that was just a trial in state court.  The trio also face federal charges: hate crimes and attempted kidnapping. That trial will begin in February

Not all of them were convicted on all counts though. From the NYT:

The jury has found Travis McMichael, the man who shot Ahmaud Arbery, guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and felony murder.

The jury has found Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael’s father, not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of all other counts he faces, including felony murder.

The jury has found William Bryan, who filmed the fatal encounter with Ahmaud Arbery, not guilty of malice murder. He was found not guilty of one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault, but guilty of three counts of felony murder and three other charges.

I predicted this result, but it wasn’t hard to do. Although the murderers claimed that Arbery was a burglar, pointing to video of him wandering inside a house under construction, he didn’t steal anything. (I used to wander into houses like that when I was a kid.) And the video clearly showed the three men pursuing Arbery, who was running away from them.  It’s fairly clear that he was being pursued because he was black.

Condolences to Arbery’s family, who had to sit through the whole trial, and no pity for the other three. The verdict and sentencing will hopefully be a deterrent to others like them, and perhaps the miscreants will some day reform, but surely now they need to be removed from society.

90 thoughts on “Three found guilty of murder in Ahmaud Arbery case

  1. I agree this is a welcome just verdict. A significant part of the evidence was cell phone video taken by one of the men now convicted. He believed it would show they acted in self-defense. Without that video, I’m not certain this would have even made it to trial.

  2. One thing to be sure of, is that no wokes will be convinced now that “systemic” racism is not so systemic after all.

    1. Not sure this case would be one to point to in order to show that systemic racism is unfounded. It took something like 7 months for these men to be charged because key figures in the local justice system tried to cover it up. Pretty vigorously. What was their motivation to do so? Law enforcement were not involved in the murder. Whether they were motivated by racism, protecting one of their own (the father has previously worked in some capacity for the local justice system) or some combination thereof is surely something that will be, has been, argued about. I’d say racism is very likely a factor and that anyone willing to make a reasonably unbiased assessment of the available evidence, woke or not, would agree that it is a valid hypothesis in this case.

      In this case the justice system nearly did fail, and racism was likely a factor in that. Due to the intervention of some high level people in the local justice system, these murderers almost got away with it.

        1. While there is research strongly indicating that infants demonstrate a preference for caregivers of their own race, any future racial biases and bigotries generally are environmentally acquired. Adult racist sentiments are often cemented by a misguided yet strong sense of entitlement, perhaps also acquired from one’s environment.

          Therefore, one means of proactively preventing this social/societal problem may be by allowing young children to become accustomed to other races in a harmoniously positive manner. The early years are typically the best time to instill and even solidify positive social-interaction life skills/traits, like interracial harmonization, into a very young brain. Human infancy is the prime (if not the only) time to instill and even solidify positive social-interaction characteristics into a very young mind.

          Irrational racist sentiment can be handed down generation to generation. If it’s deliberate, it’s something I strongly feel amounts to a form of child abuse: to rear one’s impressionably very young children in an environment of overt bigotry — especially against other races and/or sub-racial groups (i.e. ethnicities). Not only does it fail to prepare children for the practical reality of an increasingly racially/ethnically diverse and populous society and workplace, it also makes it so much less likely those children will be emotionally content or (preferably) harmonious with their multicultural/-racial surroundings.

          Children reared into their adolescence and, eventually, young adulthood this way can often be angry yet not fully realize at precisely what. Then they may feel left with little choice but to move to another part of the land, where their race or ethnicity predominates, preferably overwhelmingly so. If not for themselves, parents then should do their young children a big favor and NOT pass down onto their very impressionable offspring racially/ethnically bigoted feelings and perceptions, nor implicit stereotypes and ‘humor’, for that matter. Ironically, such rearing can make life much harder for one’s own children.

      1. The main trigger was Bryan releasing the video he took. Prior to that, the police didn’t know what happened and didn’t have the evidence to convict on murder charges. Travis McMichael claimed self defense due to Arbery having charged and attacked him, and while the video does corroborate that – and Bryan released it to bolster the claim to self-defense – the whole sequence of events was ultimately precipitated by illegal aggression from the McMichaels.

        1. That does not seem to be the case. I wasn’t merely guessing due to how long it took for charges to be brought. I was referring to quite a bit of well documented information, primarily about 2 high ranking individuals who worked to cover this up and have since suffered for it as their efforts came to light via subsequent investigation by outside agencies.

          The video was not the main trigger. Outside agencies had already taken up the case, had been re-interviewing the suspects, police and others, and were confident they had a case before the video was released. The video was released by a lawyer that at the time did not represent the suspect who had taken the video. It’s unclear why the video was released, but the pressure was already on. Did the suspect think the video would support his innocence? He apparently has said as much, and if so all I can say is that his judgement sucks. Did the lawyer do it for his own ends? I wonder. Was the video a boon to prosecutors / investigators? Sure it was, but they already had a case they thought good enough to pursue. Did it re-ignite public attention to the case? It sure did. Did that lead to pressure from many sources for the justice system to do something about it? It sure did. But the wheels had already been turning. And it’s clear that there was good reason to suspect the three perps from the very beginning, from the moment the first police officer arrived at the scene.

          In any case, I don’t have time to look up specifics to provide quotes and give sources, way too busy cooking, but the wikipedia entry on this case has lots of good information with tons of sources and is a good place to start for anyone interested.

      2. …these murderers almost got away with it.

        You summed it up nicely…this case, unlike the Rittenhouse case, was very ‘cut and dry’. It was an obvious hunt and kill situation, and straightforward, long dirty toe-nails be damned. But it in no way vindicated the US justice system. The flaws linger. Especially this new shit where America is the money laundering country for all them autocrat bastards around the world. I’d cite, but have to start cooking.

        1. Amen brother.

          I hope you have a good time on Thanksgiving Mark and that all your culinary efforts are a success. I sure hope mine are.

      3. Actually Gregory McMichael, the father who was armed but didn’t shoot Arbery, was a retired local police officer. That may have played into the initial disinterest in pursuing the case by local law enforcement. Cops protect their own, whether Brunswick, GA or Minneapolis, MN.

  3. I really see very little relationship here with the Rittenhouse event. Guns used to kill people might be one. Now lets turn the Rittenhouse killing around and say he was a black guy.

    1. The connection is weak but, if there is one, it is that Rittenhouse was motivated to “defend property” because the riot was about Black people being treated poorly. His motivation for going there was probably not relevant to his guilt of the charges anyway. However, Rittenhouse’s behavior after the trial is not exactly hiding in contrition. He’s being lauded as a hero by the cretins on the Right, including Trump himself, hosting him at Mar-a-lago:

      https://twitter.com/Mr_JamesLandis/status/1463356343977492481

      1. He’s a young guy and as such his politics (whatever they are, and I don’t profess to know them) are undoubtedly immature and influenced by his family, friends, and general circumstances (as mine were at that age, of course, though I would probably have denied it). Being lauded by Trump and those on the right and loathed by those on the left isn’t a healthy thing for him and I hope that the course of his life isn’t altered by the horrendous situation he found himself in on a single night in his teenage years. Coping with what he has done won’t be easy and I wish that those on both sides of the reaction to the verdict would leave the poor kid alone.

        1. Oops – I meant to add that the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case looks to be a fair one. (Although given the Rittenhouse hoo-ha I freely accept that my view is shaped by the news reports I have seen and not on the detailed courtroom proceedings or the jury’s deliberations.)

        2. Rittenhouses’s lawyer has been counselling him about handling himself with the white supremacists so they don’t use him. It appears the kid is intelligent enough to realize what’s going on and is listening to the lawyer.

          The result of the Ahmaud Arbery case is the correct one imo. The video of Arbery wandering around the partially completed house was from c. 4 months earlier, so the move to chase him in the first place seems wrong-headed to me. Besides, the house owner hadn’t asked the perps to keep an eye on the place. And if they thought he was guilty of a crime other than Jogging While Black, why didn’t they call the cops during the chase?

          It is a worry that all over the US there is an assumption that a white jury cannot give a fair result in trials such as these two. I don’t know what the stats are, but it doesn’t say much about society, let alone humanity.

      2. The reasons for his [Rittenhouse] being on the street were irrelevant to the self-defense argument. The MSM fumbled (or let their desired story line get the better of them) and present a false case to the public. If the Right are celebrating him, no one should be surprised. Voldemort is a moron who will go after any shiny ball that his base point him to.

        These guys [Arbery case] chased down Arbery, attacked him, and killed him when he tried to resist their attack. Arbery is the one who was acting in self-defense.

        1. Agreed. The best parallel between the cases is to identify Rittenhouse with Arbery — in both cases they were attacked by others and tried to defend themselves (one succeeded, one did not).

          1. Rittenhouse was fleeing the scene of what seemed at the moment to be a crime — he just shot a guy dead in cold blood and was walking away with a semi-automatic rifle with a still-hot barrel — when Anthony Huber tried to detain the fleeing dangerous killer by grabbing at his gun and hitting Rittenhouse with his skateboard. Huber was with his girlfriend, not out “looking for trouble,” and seemed to act out of impulse. After killing Huber, Rittenhouse continued to walk away, walking between several occupied police vehicles without surrendering, before getting free and fleeing back to Illinois. Rittenhouse participated in a police-youth organization in Illinois and knew police could be trusted, yet he himself believed he had committed crimes and was escaping. Had he not received orientation at home to turn himself in, they would still be looking for him in Florida, Texas, or Mexico. I trust Georgia justice more than I do Wisconsin.

            1. … yet he himself believed he had committed crimes and was escaping.

              There’s a lot wrong in your comment, including this. He was not “escaping”, he tried to surrender to the police in Kenosha. All along he regarded his acts as self-defense, not crimes, and wanted to say that to the police. And, at home, it was his panicking mum who suggested he flee, but he was clear on going to the Antioch police, which he did.

    2. I politely disagree. What Rittenhouse did was surely wrong, but apparently not illegal as determined by the jury; what the accused did in the Arbery case was wrong, and judged illegal by that jury. I think we must respect our judicial system, even when we disagree with the outcome, just as we must respect our electoral process, even when we disagree with the outcome. I’m afraid Rittenhouse, the McMichaels, and Bryan are what community policing looks like.

      1. “Wrong” carries a lot of baggage here. Rittenhouse showed poor judgement and was “wrong” in that sense but not “wrong” in the sense of violating applicable law.

        1. Yes, I agree. I suppose I meant morally wrong even though not against the law. What is an individual citizen’s duty in a riot, or say, the looting of a Nordstrom’s? I wish I knew more about the police “standing down” during the Kenosha riots.

          1. Same here. I think police have a hard time deciding how much of a presence to have at demonstrations where the subject is justice. If they are too large a presence, they will be accused of attempting to suppress legitimate public speech. If they are too small a presence and violence ensues, they will be accused of abdicating their duty. I have no idea which of these describes the Kenosha situation.

      2. I’m not sure i have to respect our judicial system. All the way up to the supreme court i see lots of things not to respect. It is a racist court, no one can deny that. They have as much to do with destroying our democracy as the worthless republican cult. It is taking us back to the dark ages on women and health care. Respect it….please.

  4. One of the strangest moments in the trial came when a lawyer for one of the defendants asked the court to limit the number of black pastors who could sit in the courtroom audience. It was a completely inappropriate request. I will say, however, that, even though the vast majority of lawyers currently practicing criminal law — prosecution and defense — were not yet born at the time, they are still haunted institutionally by the circumstances of the 1957 acquittal of Jimmy Hoffa on bribery charges.

    Hoffa was defended by famed trial lawyer Edward Bennett Williams before a Washington, DC, jury comprising eight black and four white jurors. During a brief recess in the courtroom action, but in full view of the jurors sitting in the jury box, former heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis, who’d been attending the trial, came up to the rail right behind the defense table and gave Hoffa a great big affectionate hug.

    Did I mention that Hoffa was subsequently acquitted? (Hoffa was nevertheless later convicted in federal courts in Chicago and Tennessee and received an aggregate sentence of 13 years — a sentence commuted to time served, after Hoffa had done a nickel in the federal pen at Lewisburg PA, by president Richard Milhous Nixon. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Teamsters endorsed Nixon for reelection the following year.)

        1. I’be heard it said that if you like laws or sausages, you don’t want to watch either being made. I fear you have given me another reason to not like sausages.

            1. That’s a paraphrase of a quote by the 19th-century UK prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. The gist of it is that watching legislators engaged in the compromise and horse-trading that makes up so much of what they do is a good way to lose one’s sense of idealism regarding how democracy works.

    1. I’m glad you said *one* of the strangest moments. My favorite was the “long, dirty toenails” comment by Laura Hogue. It was at that point that I decided the defense had abandoned all hope of a good outcome and was trying to provoke a riot in the hope of ginning up a mistrial, or at least some ridiculous grounds for an appeal.

  5. What a relief. If they had walked that would have presaged the US’s continued decline from civilization. At least there are minimum standards still, although the bar is low.

  6. This case seems just as clear-cut as the Rittenhouse case: These guys chased down and attacked and eventually shot Arbery. You can’t chase someone down and attack them and then call it self-defense. That’s the classic situation where self-defense does not apply.

  7. And we just recently walked inside a house under construction in our neighborhood. Everyone (nearly) in our (very low-crime suburban) neighborhood does this.

    They may have thought he was a burglar (incompetence is very common and much more common than malice) but this “citizen’s arrest” crap is just that: Crap. And luckily, Georgia has, in the wake of this murder, gotten rid of the “citizen’s arrest” under their law. If they really thought he was a burglar, call the cops and let the cops do their job.

    1. By their own statements the father and son were aware that Arbery had not ever been seen to have taken anything from the house under construction, though he had been captured on security video installed in the house several times. They were aware of this because a police officer told them this well before the day of the murder.

      They were also told by a police officer well before the day of the murder that a local burglary that the father and son later mentioned as a motivation for going after Arbery was known by the police to not have been Arbery.

      And yet later when the justice system really started looking into the murder their statements changed to portray them as having reasonable cause to suspect Arbery was stealing from the house under construction and had been responsible for other burglaries in the area. In other words, their own statements clearly demonstrate that they lied. They knew that they did not have good reason to suspect Arbery of stealing from the house or being responsible for other burglaries. In fact they were aware that there was evidence, that they were informed of by police officers, that he had not done these things.

    2. For what it’s worth, the citizen’s arrest law didn’t apply to them anyway. Normally it only applies when you personally witness a crime being committed. And in some (many? most?) states, IIRC, it only applies when the crime is a felony. Neither was the case here.

      I don’t think it’s crap to say that anyone can try to stop a criminal in the process of committing crime, and hold them for the police. We want criminals stopped, and police often can’t be there in time to catch them. But the bar should be high, as it generally is. I suspect the law was scrapped more for political reasons.

      1. The problem isn’t so much in stopping a criminal in flagrante delicto and holding him for the police; the problem is in the use (or threatened use) of deadly force to do so.

  8. Beginning as a 10-year-old boy watching the original release of the 1977 TV miniseries ‘Roots’, I can recall how bewildered I’d get just by the concept of Black people being brutalized and told they were not welcome — while they, as a people, had been violently forced to the U.S. from their African home as slaves! And, as a people, there has been little or no reparations or real refuge for them here, since. In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, the narrator notes that, like the South, the Civil War era northern states also hated Black people but happened to hate slavery more. …

    After 35 years of news consumption, I’ve found that a disturbingly large number of categorized people, however precious their souls, can be considered thus treated as though disposable, even to an otherwise democratic nation. When they take note of this, tragically, they’re vulnerable to begin subconsciously perceiving themselves as beings without value. (I’ve observed this in particular with indigenous-nation people living with substance abuse/addiction related to residential school trauma, including the indigenous children’s unmarked graves in Canada.)

    While the inhuman(e) devaluation of such people is basically based on their race, it still reminds me of an external devaluation, albeit a subconscious one, of the daily civilian lives lost in protractedly devastating war zones and heavily armed sieges. They can eventually receive meagre column inches on the back page in the First World’s daily news.

    1. This is why you shouldn’t form your opinions based on fictional (and plagiarized) tv shows. The truth is that the slaves brought to the US were lucky to have had such a fate. This is because, unlike in Roots, the slaves brought here weren’t captured by whites. They were already enslaved by others in Africa then purchased by whites. This means that their options weren’t slavery in the US vs. freedom. The real option was slavery in the US vs. being enslaved by other Africans or Muslims and if you read about how Africans and Muslims treated their slaves you would realize that US slavery was far, far better.

        1. I would think that “propaganda” would be the more relevant term here, but a refresher in economics is always a good idea.

          1. Yes, “propaganda” would be a relevant, and ironic, term.
            Just like the hundreds of thousands of slaves who died of disease, starvation, or chained and tossed overboard in crossing the Atlantic. All ‘better off’. Just like the Christians thought the indigenous forced into camps and educated in European culture were ‘better off’ than if they stayed with their tribe. The converts put to the sword lest they return to their heathen ways during the Crusades. And untold other atrocities committed in history. Sure, ‘better off’ than if slavers didn’t have an American market to sell humans as property.
            Sarcasm isn’t against Da Rules, right?

            1. If I thought that Europeans never did anything wrong then you might have a point. But I don’t, so you don’t.

  9. As teens, my friends and I too used to wander through houses under construction just to look around. We never stole or disturbed anything – just like Mr. Arbery. I am pleased that justice has been served.

    1. I’ve wandered through houses under construction all my life, just out of curiosity. A couple times, I’ve run into someone else doing the same thing in a house. A few years ago, I told this to two of my coworkers, and they were shocked that anyone would do this, telling me I was trespassing. I agree it’s trespassing, but I didn’t think anyone would mind if nothing’s disturbed.

      1. In the colloquial sense, that may constitute “trespassing.” But in the legal sense, there generally has to be a posted “no trespassing” sign, or a failure to leave after warning by a person with a possessory interest in the property, or by the police, for the act you describe to constitute the misdemeanor crime of trespassing — although mileage may vary by jurisdiction.

  10. Even though the three rednecks were found guilty, that does not mean Arbery was innocent. It just means that the jury recognized that the rednecks massively overreacted, and created an unnecessarily dangerous situation.
    Arbery was not jogging, at least not in a recreational sense. Claiming to be just jogging was an alibi he used frequently when confronted after being caught. His running seemed to be confined to situations immediately after he was spotted.
    He was the neighborhood prowler, and had been confronted by people there before. The neighborhood had been subject to a lot of theft, and Arbery had been seen skulking around on the cameras. They did not have photographic evidence linking him with any particular theft.
    Arbery had a long history of burglary, robbery, and assault. In addition, he was a schizophrenic who was off his meds.

    People want this to have been a lynching, and are already describing it as a situation where an innocent jogger, who might have casually looked at a vacant house, was chased down and killed for being Black. He was a burglar, that was his career, more or less.

    In Georgia, One does not need to have stolen something to be a burglar. A conviction for felony second degree burglary requires only that the person enters a structure intending to commit theft. Intent would be easier to prove if he were holding loot when caught, but it is not absolutely required.

    I don’t know what the rednecks thought was going to happen. If they had delivered Arbery to the police, he would have received at most some sort of citation, and would have been skulking around the neighborhood again almost immediately.

    I expected at least the father and son were going to be convicted of something. There was homicide, and they were amazingly negligent. The severity of the convictions might be related less to the outrageousness of the crime, and more to the low budget defense and the fact that Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were in the gallery glaring at the defendant.

        1. Oops, I meant to add that they had been ruled inadmissible and that as kjf says at #12 below, Arbery was not on trial.

        1. Thanks. I had heard many reports that the such a list existed and was ruled inadmissible. I never found any links to what was ruled inadmissible.

    1. Let’s be clear Max. None of your claims about the character and possible past actions of the victim are relevant in this case. You can imagine they might have been but what the murderers knew about the victim has been pretty well established, and it does not support your claims. I can’t imagine why you wrote this comment, but it doesn’t look good.

      The murderers, their attitudes and actions, are a much worse threat to a decent society than the victim.

      1. “I can’t imagine why you wrote this comment, but it doesn’t look good.”

        He literally gave a bunch of facts about the case. What part of that “doesn’t look good?”

      2. My claims were not about the case itself, or the verdicts, but about how the whole incident is now being described.
        I wrote it, with a bit of reluctance, because of how this is now being spun. Other here have pointed out that Arbery was not on trial. That is quite correct, but people are seeing the rednecks being found guilty as proof that Arbery was innocent, and was just a jogger.
        I am not claiming that Arbery’s past was relevant to the convictions, but that those facts should be considered prior to his canonization.

        The facts, as available to us, do not support the currently evolving narrative that Mr. Arbery was an innocent jogger who was killed by racists for the crime of running through the wrong neighborhood. Within a few minutes of the verdicts, on network news, the commenters were already framing the event in that way. Lynchings are very scarce these days, but the demand is high, as it is for hate crimes in general. This is being rewritten as such. It seems like a lot of people already believe strongly that such things are common in the south, so it serves to reinforce their beliefs.

        If any statement I made about the circumstances here, or anything I post on these pages, is found to be in error, I would greatly appreciate you pointing it out to me.
        What I wrote here was based on reading police reports and court filings. I have found that posting a lot of links as footnotes often results in the post not being published. So I tend to summarize.

        1. Is Arbery being canonized? If so, by whom? In what I’ve heard so far, people are just saying that he didn’t deserve to die and that they are glad that his killers have been convicted. Perhaps you should examine your own motivations for needing to show us how Arbery perhaps got what he deserved. Assuming you object to that characterization, please tell us your motivation in your own words.

          1. It is a process that seems to repeat. There were some articles about a new depiction of George Floyd as Christ out yesterday.
            I do not think Arbery deserved what happened to him. Not at all. It is tragic.
            What bothers me about the case, other than obviously that it happened, is that people are already using it as an example showing that this is an inherently racist country, and that Black people are liable to be lynched just for jogging through the wrong neighborhood.

            False rhetoric about how Police treat Black people is causing a lot of human suffering, and this case as an example of lynching will also further racial disharmony. It is very difficult to make progress in getting along better if people have come to believe that living with the other group is impossible. It harms us all.

            Every time a case gets misrepresented, and enters the public consciousnesses as an example of how cops hunt unarmed Blacks, or how lynch mobs roam the south, people will be more likely to base their behavior towards other races on those beliefs. The examples I used were of how a hostile and stereotyped view of Whites is sold to Black people, but it goes in other directions as well.

            1. You need to get back in line, Max. Here at WEIT, we’re Good People and we know we’re Good People because we believe all the Good Things and only the Good Things. The facts you brought up sound a whole lot like something a Bad Person would say and we don’t appreciate Bad People with their Bad Facts. I recommend you step back in line before we give you a bad label and a possible shunning. Except we don’t call it shunning because shunning is something Bad People do.

          2. Also haven’t heard anyone “canonizing” him, just that he certainly didn’t deserve to die… for whatever the hell the three thought they were doing. The didn’t know of his past, or even that he dirty toenails.

            His obvious skin color was all they needed to know to try and run him down in a truck for 5 minutes. Suppose he could have tried “escaping” into someone’s backyard. Bet he still would have been shot, because that would be acting “guilty” and trespassing.

            And… jogging guy puts his hand on his shorts *clearly* “as if he was “reaching for a gun.” Because no one ever puts their hand on their waistband for any other reason. Being black was enough.

            1. Your take on the situation is exactly the false narrative that needs to be countered. It’s painfully wrong and sounds like someone who swallowed the media lies hook, line, and sinker. It scares me how many people out there are just as “misinformed” as you are.

            2. I guess I need to clarify that I did not mean that he was literally being canonized, in the sense of being formally recognized as a saint of the Catholic Church. I suppose the Pope could declare him a Martyr, and maybe he gets a feast day or something.

              The rednecks had confronted him in the middle of the night two weeks before the shooting, and had called the police, but Arbery ran off before they arrived. He had been seen and photographed prowling properties in the neighborhood at night on several previous occasions.

              They were not chasing a random Black person transiting the neighborhood. The area is 54% Black, so his race would not have made him stand out. They were chasing him because he was the neighborhood prowler, but they exceeded any reasonable measures in doing so, and the death is on them.

  11. I’d like to thank Prof. Coyne for providing that rare forum where we can talk about this without rancor. I could take offense at the use of redneck, but I don’t, not when friends call themselves Saltine Americans.

  12. As a Brit, could someone distinguish between “malice murder” and “felony murder”? Googling has left me a bit confused.

    1. I don’t think it’s universal in American law (i.e. I’m not sure it’s a British vs. American thing, rather than some American states), but “malice murder” is when you intend to kill someone, while “felony murder” is when someone gets killed while you are committing a crime other than murder. For example, if you kidnap someone for ransom, and that person dies, you have committed “felony murder”. From what I’ve read about Georgia law, penalties for conviction are about the same for the two types of murder, but “felony murder” is easier to obtain a conviction on, since motive for the murder need not be established by the prosecution, as long as the other felony has been proven.

      GCM

  13. “An innocent black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was shot to death in Georgia by one of three white men who were practicing vigilante justice with no cause other than the Arbery’s race.”

    I would expect this sort of race baiting from the mainstream media, but I hope for better here.

    They tried to apprehend him because they had seen him in person and on camera repeatedly illegally entering a house where things had been stolen. Trying to make this a racial attack is a stretch to put it nicely.

    1. Not a stretch at all. The 3 didn’t go after all those other people, but this one happened to be black, so he had to be guilty of something. Their initial accounts is what convicted them, not all the time they had to come up with a seemingly plausible explanation.

      1. Which “other people” didn’t they go after? Arbury was repeatedly seen on camera and in person trespassing and acting suspicious. When he was seen in person by McMichaels he called the police on him. Were there whites doing the same as Arbury that were seen in action but not chased because I haven’t heard of that?

  14. Could we not just agree that career criminals are the ones likely to find themselves in situations where they attract the attention of armed vigilantes? And further agree that that has no bearing on the lawfulness of use of force by vigilantes? The question in this case was whether the 3 guys had lawful reason to shoot him. The jury concluded they did not. It should not be surprising that the deceased was in no way a role model but that is not relevant to the guilt of Bryan and the McMichaels. The facts about his past were properly excluded from the jury.

    Could we also not agree that it is not relevant in this case that the victim was black and the pursuers were white? It would I suppose be relevant in a federal civil rights trial on a hate crime which might follow, but not for the murder trial.

    1. That he was black and his pursuers white is relevant to us, even if it wasn’t to the jury. We can engage in hypotheticals such as what would have happened had their races been reversed.

      1. I think the races of jogger and shooters was indeed quite relevant, as this (apparently) was the first time they got to flex their ‘citizen’s arrest’ vigilante muscles, as all the other ‘trespassers’ apparently were white.

    2. The facts aren’t important. It’s the narrative that must be followed. Just like there is no evidence race had anything to do with George Floyd, it must be viewed through the lens of the dominant narrative where anything bad that happens to blacks is the fault of white racism. Conversely, anything that opposes that narrative is quickly hushed up. The black who mowed down dozens of whites after posting anti-white posts on social media is now being referred to as “SUV violence” or a “parade crash” but no racial motive is implied even though it very much should be.

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