The crime scene for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery was packed with crowds during the selection of the jury for the trial

Ahmaud Arbery’s family, friends and supporters gathered in Brunswick, Georgia, Tuesday (19/10), at the scene of the death of the black man who was murdered while performing jogging. They gathered during the jury selection process for the trial of three white men accused of racially motivated murder against Arbery.

“What we will do, first, is the prosecution and then each lawyer will have the opportunity to ask you questions. The first round of questions are what we call general questions. It will be done here. You will be asked to raise your hand to answer certain questions,” Judge Timothy Walmsley told prospective jurors in the Arbery trial.

Community leaders in Brunswick warned of the need for unity before the trial began, for fear of causing racial tensions or violent demonstrations in the small coastal town.

The murder of Arbery, 25, on February 23, 2020 sparked outrage across the US.

Former police officers Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, have been charged with murder and other counts. All three pleaded not guilty. They face life imprisonment if found guilty.

The Arbery case, as well as the murder of other African Americans at the hands of law enforcement officials in 2020 such as the George Floyd case, sparked a wave of nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the US.

Malik Muhammad (C) joins dozens of others as they march from the Glinn County courthouse to the police station in Brunswick, Georgia, on May 16, 2020 in protest over the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.  (Photo: AP/Stephen B. Morton)

Malik Muhammad (C) joins dozens of others as they march from the Glinn County courthouse to the police station in Brunswick, Georgia, on May 16, 2020, in protest over the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. (Photo: AP/Stephen B. Morton)

The three suspects said they suspected Arbery of being a robber and chased him in a pickup truck as he ran across the suburbs.

Bryan’s cell phone video showed Arbery initially trying to escape, then wrestling with Travis McMichael, who was armed with a rifle and shot him dead.

The perpetrator’s team of lawyers will argue in court that McMichael shot in self-defense. However, human rights activists and Arbery’s family said the case was another example of attacks targeting black men. [rd/jm]

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