Ahmaud Arbery’s Mother Says She Won’t Watch Her Son “Leave The World” In Heartbreaking Video Footage
Now that Black communities and supporters have had almost 48 hours to digest the senseless, racialized killing of Ahmaud Arbery, his family is raising their voice for justice, also traumatized from the way his blood and body were imprinted on our memories.
“These men were vigilantes, they were a posse and they performed a modern lynching in the middle of the day,” said Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery’s family in an interview with CBS News. Merritt recently called for the Justice Department to investigate the case as a hate crime.
A video released on Tuesday showed Arbery’s last moments after he was pursued and approached by white father-son duo, Gregory and Travis McMichael, on February 23. Police records show the McMichaels claimed Arbery resembled a burglar after a recent string of break-ins in their Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood. Instead of passing their suspicions, they decided to take matters into their own hands, which according to their account, led to a physical altercation.
There is no room to sugarcoat the vile way vigilante justice has stolen countless Black sons and daughters from their families.
“I saw my son come into the world,” Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper Jones said in response to whether she has watched the video. “And seeing him leave the world, it’s not something that I’ll want to see ever.” She, like other member of his family, maintain that Arbery was innocent. His only crime was running while Black.. She, more than any of us, wants justice for her son.
Incredulously, no arrests have been made in the shooting, but after the video’s release, prosecutor Tom Durden announced he will recommend the case before a grand jury. Durden was assigned to the case after Glynn County prosecutor Jackie Johnson recused herself, revealing that she worked with Gregory McMichael during his time in law enforcement. The Georgia NACCP chapter has called for her to resign.
However, with Georgia courts closed until mid-June due to the coronavirus, Arbery’s family have a prolonged wait, after praying that their son’s death to be taken seriously for the last two months.
Several prominent voices have spoken out calling for the McMichaels’ arrest alongside Arbery’s family including Rev. Al Sharpton, Bernice King, LeBron James and Joe Biden. After the video’s release Georgia Governor Brian Kemp tweeted he supports an investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now reportedly on the case due to Durden’s request.
Arbery’s death is especially triggering for his family who will go without honoring him in the physical form for his 26th birthday on Friday.
On social media demonstrators want to celebrate Arbery by encouraging supporters to run 2.23 miles on his 26th birthday. The mileage amount symbolizes the day he was killed. The movement, began by Arbery’s high school football coach, also includes the hashtag #IRunWithMaud.
“With Covid-19 of course, we can’t have a demonstration where we all come together,” Jason Vaughn told CNN. “Any runner can identify with Maud, a guy who may have had a bad day, but he can go out there and hit the pavement and go jog.”