Twelve days before the killing, the McMichaels were told by the police who were on the phone with Larry English (the owner of the house) that the black male who appeared on surveillance videos had never been seen taking anything or doing anything wrong at the vacant building site.
The day of the killing, the McMichaels were at their own home and could not even see the building site. They had no knowledge of any crime or misbehavior at the site. They simply saw a young black man running through their neighborhood, immediately armed themselves and went after the young man.
A neighbor (Bryan) who had had no communication with the McMichaels saw a white truck aggressively pursuing a young black male, jumped in his own truck and participated in hunting the young man down.
Just think about the set of assumptions (the prosecutor called them “driveway decisions”) that would lead three men to immediately, without question, arm themselves and hunt down a young man running through their neighborhood. What kind of person does this?
The kind of person who has viewed African Americans as enemies all their lives. The kind of person who assumes that African Americans, especially black males, are up to no good, probably committing crimes. Gregory McMichals told the police that Arbery had “probably hurt someone” and that’s why they went after him.
Just think about that. If you saw someone jogging through your neighborhood, would you immediately think that they had probably hurt someone? Then would you have had guns at the ready, armed yourself, and pursued the jogger through the neighborhood? Would you have (as did Bryan did) see a pursuit and immediately jumped in your own truck and join in the pursuit, not knowing any of the people involved? Would you have then not only participated in trapping this jogger “like a rat” (quote from Greg McMichaels) and drive at him with your truck repeatedly?
This is a hate crime. It is the crime of men who have guns at the ready, looking for a reason to shoot somebody and that somebody is frequently a person of color. They are men who consider themselves white defenders, ready at any moment to use an excuse to hunt down and kill a black person. This is who these men are.