By Rosetta Miller Perry
By now the entire nation has heard about the tragic and senseless murder (and that’s what it was) of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. This young man had done nothing except jog through a neighborhood, but two whites saw a Black man running, and assumed he was some kind of criminal. They decided to pursue him and make a “citizen’s arrest,” only what they ended up doing was executing an innocent victim. That the older man was a former investigator with long ties to law enforcement evidently convinced two District Attorneys not to file charges. It’s quite possible that if a horrible video had not gone viral showing the two whites chasing down and killing this unarmed Black man NOTHING would have been done about it.
Fortunately, now both Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael are under arrest, charged with murder and aggravated assault, They were denied bond last Friday. But the grand jury won’t be impaneled in Georgia until mid-June, so it will be weeks before it’s determined what happens next. They should both be indicted, tried, convicted and given super stiff sentences, but no one knows for sure what will happen when a case goes to a jury. Also, whether these two are convicted or not, they’re just part of a much larger problem.
America has long been a place where there was one set of rules for whites and another for Blacks. African Americans have gotten the short end of the stick so much in the judicial system it’s viewed as an everyday thing. Thanks to the Innocence Project, more and more wrongly convicted people are being freed, but they can only handle so many cases. They also can’t do anything about the routine disrespect Blacks encounter on a daily basis from police, the number of unnecessary traffic stops or harassment suffered by Black motorists.
It was just revealed in New York City that a disproportionate number of Black and Latino citizens had been arrested for social distancing violations. Those same stories showed photos of large white crowds violating those identical rules with few, if any, arrests being made. This is New York City, a place run by a supposed progressive mayor married to a Black woman. By the way, he publicly defended those arrest figures when asked about them by the press.
The Ahmaud Arbery incident happened Feb. 23. It took until May for anything to be done about it. Does anyone think if two Black men got in a truck, chased down and killed a young white man, that it would take two months and a grisly video being released before anything happened? Or that two DAs would pass on prosecuting the people responsible? But whenever you bring these things up, folks want to pretend like it’s somehow being anti-cop or trying to excuse lawlessness by complaining about police misconduct.
Every time an Ahmaud Arbery incident occurs, it further erodes respect for authority and law enforcement. So long as the type of racist mentality that sees any and all Blacks, especially males, as threats exists, whether it’s in law enforcement or the White House, more Black men will be killed not for being criminals, but because some white person THINKS they are.