Updated: May 18, 2020
When did driving while back become a crime?
When did walking while black become a crime?
When did JOGGING while black become a crime?
Does the color of a black man’s skin scream “THUG” “RAPIST” “MURDERER” or “THIEF?” Why is it for so long that our skin color has been perceived as a threat?
I am tired of waking up and turning on the television, or scrolling down my timeline on Instagram or Twitter, only to see that another innocent BLACK man or woman, has been fatally shot and killed because they were thought to be committing a crime. That is exactly what Gregory McMichael and his son Travis- two people that I believe who adhere to the white principles of white supremacy- thought when they maliciously gunned down 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery during his daily jog in a neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia. The sick part about it is that Gregory tried to justify he and his son’s actions by claiming that they were making a citizen's arrest.
How can you claim that you were making a citizen’s arrest when there was no crime being committed during the time of the arrest? Under Georgia’s law, “a private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable cause.” Ahmaud was just jogging! No weapon was found, no crime was being committed. The only probable cause that the McMichael’s had when pursuing and ultimately killing Ahmaud, was his skin color, because other than that, what crime was committed in their presence or within their immediate knowledge?
The only known facts was that a neighbor on the block had called in a report to 911 of an African-American man inside of a house that was under construction. So since Ahmaud Arbery was black, he fit the description of a thief? A burglar? A robber? There is no reason that the McMichael’s should have even approached Ahmaud. They were not cops and they did not witness him committing any crime first-hand, other than-in their eyes- jogging while black. What gave them the right to act as the judge, jury, and executioner?
Mind you, this happened back in February and the video of the incident only surfaced this month. Lee Merrit, the attorney for the Arbery family, said he believes that there have not been any indictments because Gregory McMichael is a former investigator for the Brunswick district attorney. A prime example of the police protecting their own, instead of protecting the people who actually need protection and justice.
There is more than enough evidence to convict, but I think it is fair to question whether or not the McMichaels will actually be convicted. I mean look at what happened in the Rodney King Trial, all four officers who had been charged with using excessive force -ON VIDEO-when arresting Rodney King, were acquitted. From Rodney King to Tamir Rice, to Michael Brown, to Eric Garner, to Trayvon Martin, to Sandra Bland, to Atatiana Jefferson- all the officers involved in these cases were acquitted.
Yet, Michael Vick, in 2007 was convicted of illegal dogfighting. Even though dogfighting is awful, it was a common practice throughout the south that both blacks and whites partook in. And during his trial, it was put on the table that he receive probation. But after public protests from animal advocates-who were majority white- grew larger and louder, the option of probation was struck off the table, and Michael Vick was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. Is a dog’s life more significant than a black man’s?
The criminal justice system is so quick to put a black man behind bars but is so quick to let a white man or woman walk free or get a lesser amount of a time for a similar crime. Even when the crime is caught on video for the entire world to see. When will the scales of justice be balanced? When can we expect the criminal justice system -a system that is meant to deliver justice for all- to actually follow through and deliver justice for all, especially for the people who are suffering the most?
To quote the great Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.,
“An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Our voices will be heard. Rest In Peace and Love Ahmaud. Your name will live on forever and we will be your voice. #WeAreGenZ