Ahmaud Arbery: I don’t think there can be justice…

7 January 2022

Ahmaud Arbery

Sentences for the men who hunted down and murdered Ahmaud Arbery were handed down in a Brunswick, Georgia courtroom today.  Two of the men, Greg and Travis McMichael, were sentenced to life without parole plus additional years.  William Bryan was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole and a consecutive number of years.  This means, for Bryan, that after he is eligible for parole in 30 years, this additional sentenced will be added on.

There is no way to celebrate the sentencing of men to prison, but these men participated in a crime so hateful and cruel no other alternative was possible.  It bears remembering, though, that had this case been left in the local jurisdiction, there would have been no trial, no conviction, no sentencing.

The local Glynn County authorities tried their hardest to cover up, gloss over, minimize this case.  The District Attorney at the time, Jackie Johnson, has herself been indicted for the way she handled the case. 

Because of the tenacity of Ahmaud Arbery’s mother and the work of various other civil rights activists, this case not only was brought to trial, but was taken out of the hands of the local authorities.   So many things had to go perfectly for a guilty verdict to have been rendered. 

As a citizen of Glynn County I am still amazed that a nearly all-white jury handed down a guilty verdict.

But, as the prosecutor pointed out, even though the actual chase and killing of Ahmaud Arbery involved minutes, this event was a product of years of preparation.  The men involved spent years festering in a stew of racial hatred, suspicion, and entitlement.  That has not gone away.  It was obvious from the testimony of some of the people in the Satilla Shores neighborhood that they shared the ingrained racism of the defendants.

I do not believe that the case of the District Attorney has been taken out of the hands of local authorities.     

When the Ahmaud Arbery case was first being tried, members of the families of others who had been violently treated by local police (and police pretenders) were present.  The parents of a young woman who had been shot through the windshield of her parked car and killed were present.  The police officers involved were protected and not prosecuted by the office of Jackie Johnson.  There are many other cases handled by the DA’s office that we don’t even know about.

I don’t think there can be justice when a young man is hunted down and shot in the street for nothing more than being in a neighborhood where men are prepared to kill if they cannot intimidate.  We will soon see if this justice extends to the people who tried to cover it up. 


“A moral panic is a widespread fear, most often an irrational one, that someone or something is a threat to the values, safety, and interests of a community or society at large….Moral panics are often centered around people who are marginalized in society due to their race or ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, or religion. As such, a moral panic often draws on known stereotypes and reinforces them. It can also exacerbate the real and perceived differences and divisions between groups of people. Moral panic is well known in the sociology of deviance and crime and is related to the labeling theory of deviance.”

The prosecution should have had an academic testify about moral panic.  It is a familiar term, used all the time in sociology, especially among those who work in the fields of criminology and social deviance. 

The people in Satilla Shores worked themselves up into a moral panic about crime in the neighborhood.  It is relatively easy to create such a panic just by word of mouth.  Social media just makes the creation of a moral panics easier.  Once people started talking about, posting about, “intruders” in the neighborhood, and items being stolen, the narrative took on a life of it’s own.

Every unrecognized person becomes an “intruder.”  Every misplaced item becomes “stolen.” Even when individuals encounter facts which disprove the “intruder/crime” label, they rarely go around the neighborhood and tell everybody that they were mistaken.

Several witnesses in this trial admitted that while they had heard that the owner of the construction site thought he had had items stolen from his boat, they never heard that Larry English had driven that boat back and forth to various locations and wasn’t sure himself where these items had been stolen.  English never even told the police that the items were stolen in Satilla Shores.

It was brought out through testimony that strange cars were reported as being in the neighborhood only to later be identified as cars belonging to relatives of residents.  Items that were reported as stolen (including a supposedly loaded gun belonging to Travis McMichael) were left in unlocked vehicles.  One woman who testified whose purse was widely discussed, left her own purse in an unlocked car and it wasn’t stolen.  Somebody reported that their brother-in-law had a case of beer stolen out of a car parked in Satilla Shores.  (Folks, if you believe that one, you are really sheltered.)

What happens when people work themselves up into a moral panic is that every misplaced item becomes “stolen” and fodder for more gossip and speculation. 

Citizen’s Arrest Laws: Ahmaud Arbery

Citizen’s Arrest Law

  • The Glynn County Police Department initially made no arrests in the Arbery case.  Watching the body cam videos of the officers who arrived on the scene, several things are notable.
  • The officers never once thought they were in danger from the three men who had just hunted down another man and killed him in the street.
  • Even though these officers testified that officer safety was paramount in such scenes, they were obviously not in the least afraid of the three men.
  • None of the men were even searched to see if they had weapons.  They were not separated from each other when the statements at the scene were being taken.  One officer, supposedly interviewing Greg McMichael, allowed another man who has yet to be identified, to come up and interrupt his interview.  When the prosecutor asked this officer why he had allowed this to happen (contrary to all standard operating procedure) the officer said: “I can’t give you a good answer to that question.”
  • It was obvious that the officers who responded were clear that the McMichaels and Bryan were friends, colleagues, on the same side.
  • One of the officers even said, commiserating with the McMichaels, “I can imagine.”
  • When Greg McMichaels asked if the police were going to handcuff Travis (the shooter) the female officer says: “No. Why would we handcuff him?”  Why indeed.
  • Two of the three men were allowed to go home and “clean up” before driving themselves to the police station to give a statement.
  • Nobody who has any sense would believe that if the racial composition of this were changed (the hunters and killers were black and the victim was white) the outcome would have been the same.
  • Additionally, Greg McMichael was all over that crime scene.  He was photographed talking to everybody, Travis, Bryan, the coroner, the officers, Diego Perez, a neighbor.  He also let no opportunity go by in which he didn’t inform everybody that he was a former investigator for the DA’s office.
  • Greg McMichael’s race and his status as former law enforcement, did the trick. 
  • Later, after the DA recused herself (because Greg McMichael worked in her office), the case was passed on to the District Attorney in Waycross, Barnhill.
  • In a letter to the Glynn County Police Department, Mr. Barnhill, who eventually recused himself from the case, wrote that the men were in “hot pursuit” of Mr. Arbery, and that they had “solid first hand probable cause” that he was a “burglary suspect.  He therefore, recommended no arrests.
  • There were no arrests until the men themselves released the video of the killing.  One of the female neighbors who was a witness, testified that Travis McMichael talked to her about leaking the video.  But, when the released it, they didn’t get the “positive” reaction they had anticipated. 
  • These men actually thought that releasing the video of them murdering another human being was going to get a “positive response.”

It Astounds and Depresses Me: Ahmaud Arbery

I have spent two weeks watching every minute of the trial of the men who hunted down Ahmaud Arbery and killed him in the street.

I am reminded of something my mother said about the O.J. Simpson trial.  After watching for a week or so, she phoned me and said: “I think they should put them all in jail.”  “Who?” I asked.  “Everybody,” she replied.  “The judge, the lawyers, the police, O.J. Simpson, the media, everybody.”

As usual, she made me laugh.  But, I’m not doing much laughing at the moment.  I’m glad she’s not alive to have gone through four years of Trump, the rise of the fascist Republican party, and the flourishing of the worship of guns and violence.  And, I’m glad she’s not seeing the trial in the Ahmaud Arbery case, or the Rittenhouse fiasco. 

The trial of the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery and the Rittenhouse case reveal such a disturbing, depressing side of this country, I can hardly breathe.

The defense in the Ahmaud Arbery trial has been pure racist fear mongering.  Ahmaud Arbery was described over and over again as “creeping” and threatening.  Travis McMichael testified that there was something not right about him.  One defense attorney pointed out that Larry English’s 15-year-old daughter had been on his property.  What if, the lawyer exclaimed, she had run across Arbery?  “Who knows what would have happened.”  One of the defense attorneys actually asked the medical examiner (for no reason other than racist smear mongering) whether Ahmaud Arbery’s toenails were “long and dirty.’

An essential part of the case of the defense has been that the Satilla Shores neighborhood was in fear, under siege, under attack.  But, not even the prosecution pointed out in any systematic way that this “neighborhood on edge” was a classic case of what sociologists call a “moral panic.”

Through Facebook and neighborhood watch social media (and probably Fox News) the members of this little subdivision worked themselves up into a frenzy in which mothers were texting other mothers to “get the boys inside” there’s an intruder in the neighborhood and other alarmist messages.  One of the neighbors was spending all her time watching surveillance monitors and running armed into the front yard when she suspected something was happening.

You must understand that these people loved what they were doing.  They were playing a part in a self-created drama.  No matter how much they whine and complain about the danger they were in, they actively participated in ginning up that fear and exaggerating that danger.  They shared stories about “intruders” even when those intruders turned out to be relatives of their neighbors whose cars weren’t recognized.

A couple of witnesses even admitted that they never passed information along or heard information which indicated that these alarm notifications were groundless.  The initial “crime” that was talked about all over the neighborhood was the stealing of expensive equipment out of Larry English’s boat.  At least two witnesses claimed not to have ever known that English himself admitted that he had driven the boat back and forth to several locations and wasn’t sure himself where the equipment was stolen.

But, the neighbors all participated in and got pleasure from sounding the alarm, running armed into situations, telling themselves they were heroes protecting their children. One of the female neighbors testified in talking about one of these incidents something like: My children (elevated voice, MY CHILDREN) were feet away.  But, this same woman when she saw police cars with lights on in the neighborhood, drove with all her children in the car to the site of the murder.  This woman, so terrified of “intruders” that she freaked out when a man was walking around the neighborhood taking pictures, drove her own children to a murder scene and then complained about how shocking it was.

(Note: She also later went on a boat ride with one of the men who committed this murder).

This woman, who carried a gun herself, was at one point so afraid of what might happen that she thought the McMichaels were going to shoot her husband who was in a vacant house at night searching for an “intruder.” 

And we all know how the neighbors whittled down the available suspects who were in the neighborhood (a white couple, white children, a white homeless person, a white man who was arrested in the neighborhood by the federal police) to focus in on the one young black man seen inside the vacant house building site.  Well, they actually didn’t “whittle.”  They jumped with all the feet they had on this one person, sure that he had committed a crime.

The belief that neighborhood gossip and postings on Facebook are reality, the willingness of people to pass around this speculation as fact, the willingness of these people to run into the streets armed with guns willing to shoot somebody (as long as they are black), and the belief to this day that they did nothing wrong just astounds and depresses me.

Defense Strategy: Gough

15 November 2021

The State today called a witness from the State Crime Lab who testified to finding tee shirt fibers on the truck of William Bryan.  When the state asked about the ease with which fibers can be transferred from one surface to the other, Defense attorney Gough objected. 

Gough, in his usual, “let’s try to make a big deal out of nothing” strategy (to legal argument as well as life, it seems) tried to say that there was a “casym” of difference between what she testified to and what she wrote in her report.

She wrote in her report that she couldn’t exclude the possibility that the fibers were from Arbery’s tee shirt.  She said in court that could not definitely say that these fibers were from Ahmaud Arbery’s tee shirt.

When Gough implied that he had uncovered the “Perry Mason” discrepancy in testimony, the technician replied that the two statements were not mutually exclusive.  I really hope the jury is not hopelessly stupid.

When this witness took the stand, I started wondering how hard a person with a tee shirt on needed to come in contact with a truck door to leave fibers.  Gough, evidently saw this as a problem as well since he objected when the State asked about different surfaces and the ease with which fibers can be transferred.

Gough also once again used the hopelessly inadequate investigation by the Glynn County Police (GCPD) to plant doubt in the minds of the jurors.  He asked the technician if she had collected fibers from the grill of the truck, the front of the truck, the back of the truck.  There was no objection about the relevance of this questioning.

The investigation by the GCPD has been a repeated theme for all the defense attorneys, but especially for Gough.  They are using the fact that the GCPD virtually accepted every word said on the scene of the murder by the white defendants and didn’t investigate to create doubt.  And there is a lot of room to maneuver here.  GCPD did not separate the defendants; they did not search the defendants.  They did not include the trucks in the crime scene and allowed at least Greg McMichaels to drive his own truck to the police station.

Again and again, the defense has used this against the state.  This evidence wasn’t collected, this part of the crime scene wasn’t preserved.  For example, Gough asked if the entire path of Arbery’s run was checked for evidence.  He was implying that Arbery had a weapon that was not recovered.  The defense attorneys are trying to encourage the jury to have doubt of guilt because the police failed to do an adequate investigation.  It’s the O.J. Simpson defense. 

Also, the defense attorneys have used the fact that the GCPD didn’t make any arrests as an indication that the men weren’t guilty.  The argument is that they weren’t arrested at the time, so there was no reason to arrest them.  I suppose, the extension of that thinking is that since “the media” has transformed this into a case about race, the men were only arrested because of inappropriate pressure by “civil rights activists.” (And we have Jesse Jackson sitting in the courtroom).

Jurors were questioned and some eliminated because they had supported the “social justice movement” (an ill defined term) in any way. 

There are people on Twitter who believe that there is a chance of getting a guilty verdict in this case even with eleven white jurors.  I am not that optimistic.  Gough was a public defender in this county for decades.  If nothing else, he knows his jurors and he is clearly laying a map for racist thinking in this case, providing pegs for the jury to put their racist Col. Sanders hats on.

“And you took that as a green light.” Ahmaud Arbery case and Kevin Gough

Blog 11/12/21

At the end of the trial day yesterday, defense counsel Kevin Gough expressed his usual consternation on finding out that Al Sharpton had been sitting in the courtroom in the Ahmaud Arbery trial.

Gough, in typical fashion he has displayed throughout the trial, popped off and tried to make an enormous issue out of nothing.  Gough maintained that the judge should bar Sharpton and other high profile black preachers from the courtroom.  Gough specifically said that the presence of Sharpton was “intimidating.”

“We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here,” Gough spouted, making a fool out of himself yet again.  Various web sites posted photographs of his co-counsel putting her head in her hands as he spoke.

Gough, not having said enough had to use the phrase “these people” referring to exactly whom we don’t know.

Gough talked about Rev. Jesse Jackson as well and then finished up by saying that “If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Col. Sanders with white masks sitting in the back…” people would protest. I am not at all sure what Col. Sanders has to do with anything, but that’s Kevin Gough.

It breaks my heart to know that Gough was the Glynn county Public Defender for years.  He is such a disastrously bad lawyer I cannot imagine how many poor people are in prison because of his incompetence.  Every person who went to prison after being defended by this man should have a new trial.  It is just one more instance of total incompetence and corruption by the Glynn County government.

Gough, after other defense attorneys went to the mics to denounce his statement, apologized today just in case he had inadvertently insulted anybody.

And on he went as he has been going for decades.

After a particularly long and inane cross examination of the GBI investigator who took over the Arbery case today, it occurred to me that one of Gough’s strategies was to be so confusing that the witness appears confused.  He then hopes that the witness will look more confused to the jury than he does.  In this particular case, he is hoping that the young black female prosecutor will object to his confusion and therefore look like a bitch.

I just cannot imagine that this man has gotten away with this incompetence for decades.  But, as one of the commentators after today’s performance pointed out, it could be that Gough is a person the jury identifies with. The commentator was pointing out that the GBI agent came off as smooth and professional.  The commentator posited that the jury might well identify with the shambling, stumbling Gough rather than the outsider, the smooth, polished, intelligent GBI agent.  I don’t know. I find it hard to believe that anybody could watch Kevin Gough, who has questioned whether Joe Biden is president in court, and think he is anything but a disaster.

Gough is like a bad actor who loves to act and has no idea that he is bad, really bad.  I have seen hundreds of them.  Now that I think about it, the entire “Gong Show” was based on such people.

Gough depends on making a lot of noise, but rarely has any legitimate legal point, and also seems completely disorganized.  Today, he seemed unable to fix on any one theory of his case.  He just kept throwing out option after option – Bryan was an idiot, Bryan had learning disabilities, Bryan was trapped by the GBI agent into saying things he didn’t mean, Bryan couldn’t remember what happened on the day of the killing and the GBI agent had taken advantage of him in some way, Bryan was only a witness, the GBI didn’t immediately arrest Bryan, throw it against the wall….

It did occur to me, however, that Gough had rather cleverly set up one of his defenses in advance.  When Bryan went to the GBI to be questioned, Gough asked the GBI agent to come out of the room so he (Gough) could explain what a hard time Bryan had following and explaining what happened in narrative form.  Gough essentially told the GBI agent that he had to talk down to Bryan, explain everything to him directly.

So, the GBI goes back in the interrogation room and explains things to Bryan as if he were a child, directly and simply.  And then Gough gets up in court and accuses the GBI agent of putting words in Bryan’s mouth by directly explaining things to him.  Gough set that one up, deliberately, methodically, and ahead of time.

But, I think Gough had not counted on the steely nature of this GBI agent.  Gough started down a path of condemning the GBI agent for setting up a reenactment where the GBI agent drove the truck and asked Bryan to tell him what happened.  Gough had made a point of telling the agent that Bryan was basically slow and he had to break down things to him and that Bryan had difficulty explaining things in a narrative fashion.  Then, when the GBI agent set up the reenactment with himself driving, and Bryan telling him what to do, Gough attacks the agent for not having Bryan drive the truck.

Gough berated the agent saying, you just had to have this reenactment  didn’t you, implying that the agent had forced the poor ignorant Bryan into doing this reenactment.  The agent calmly fired back, you were the one who demanded the reenactment because you said Bryan couldn’t talk through this in a narrative form.  Gough, didn’t skip a beat.  And you took that as a “green light” he fired back.  That’s my favorite quote of the day, perhaps of the week.

“You did this.”

“You told me to do it.”

“And you took that as a green light.”

The “Investigators” of the Ahmaud Arbery Case: Glynn County Police Department

One of the ironic things about the Ahmaud Arbery case is that because of the shoddy, good-ole-boy “investigation” of his killing, the defense is busily planting doubt in the minds of the jurors.

This “investigation” was carried out by the Glynn County Police Department which has a history of corruption and questionable police tactics.  The investigation of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery is just the most recent in a long list of corrupt practices.

In April 2019, Action News Jax (Jacksonville, Florida) reported that an internal investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) had uncovered misconduct within the Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team. This investigation led to the unit being disbanded.

Narcotics Enforcement Teams are not disbanded without good reason, and not without an enormous amount of pressure being exerted on the law enforcement agency.

As with the Arbery case, the GBI had to be called in to “investigate after Chief of Staff Brian Scott was notified of reported inappropriate behavior involving an officer assigned to the GBNET” (the drug squad).

A report on the internal investigation included findings that Investigator James Cassada was involved in sexual relationships with two confidential informants (CIs) and had been conducting these sexual relationships since 2017.  Cassandra resigned in February (2019) at the initial phase of the investigation.

Not only was Cassada having sex with his informants, he told another investigator not to pursue drug charges against his CI.  One of Cassandra’s CIs told investigators that Cassada had asked her how much it would cost him to have sex with her. The CI said she and Cassandra had had sex twice in his department issued vehicle.

There were also allegations in the report that Cassada had used cocaine and methamphetamine and supplied the drugs to CIs, but there was insufficient evidence to support the claims.

The Police Department, according to the JAX reporting, announced the commander of GBNET was facing disciplinary action for his conduct.  We do not know at this time whether this disciplinary action was ever carried out.

According to the JAX report:

  • Three officers from the GCPD came to Capt. Davis Hassler, who was commander between 2016 and 208, with information about the misconduct, but he never opened an investigation.
  • During the interview, Hassler denied having any knowledge of the allegations. He said if an employee had come to him with the allegations, he would have investigated them.
  • Hassler announced he now plans to resign and retire.
  • A joint investigative unit will be established in the future identified as the Brunswick-Glynn Special Investigative Unit. The unit will conduct investigations concerning narcotic crimes, prostitution, human trafficking, illegal gambling, criminal street gangs and alcoholic violations.

At the end of the JAX article about the report on the Drug Unit, this sentence appeared:

Action News Jax reached out to the District Attorney’s Office to find out how many cases could be affected. We’re still waiting on a response.

This is the DA’s office lead by Jackie Johnson who has herself now been indicted for her handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case.



It was Greg McMichael Who Controlled the Crime Scene

Greg McMichael was all over that crime scene.

Immediately after the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in the street in Glynn County Georgia by Gregory Michael and his son Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael (a former police investigator) took over the crime scene investigation.  There is little evidence that the police officers who arrived at the scene did much besides follow Gregory McMichael’s suggestions.

They allowed him to take over the situation.

For example, G. McMichael was not separated from the other men involved in the crime.  He repeatedly told his son (who pulled the trigger) “You had to do it.  You had to do it.”  In other words, say this is self defense, boy.

Police arrived within minutes of the shooting, but Greg McMichael and Travis Michael and the buddy in the chase, William Bryan, were allowed to roam around the crime scene, talk to each other and to other people, including witnesses like Diego Perez.  Their trucks were never searched.  The trucks they had used to chase down Arbery and hem him in were never even made part of the crime scene.

Even though police were on the scene, Gregory McMichael can be seen taking to his son, William Bryan and Diego Perez a witness to the crime.  Even when an officer was trying to interview Greg McMichael, an unidentified white male just strolled up and started talking to McMichael.  When the prosecutor asked the Glynn County Police (GCP) officer why he had allowed this, he said: “I don’t have a good answer for that.”

When the same officer was talking to someone from the Coroner’s office, Greg McMichael walked up and interrupted and started telling her what, in his version, happened.  The officer did not stop this.

No.  The officer did not have a good answer for why he allowed  McMichael to talk to other people and come up and interrupt a conversation the officer was trying to have with the coroner.  And, the GCP still don’t have a good answer for why they failed to secure the crime scene, allowed the assailants to leave the scene, change clothes and eventually go home.

In the aftermath of an event in which three men chased down a young black man because they thought he might have stolen something, thought he might have hurt somebody, thought he was up to no good, thought he might be on drugs, the GCP made no arrests, detained none of the men involved.  They interviewed them and sent them home.

When Greg McMichael was being interviewed by the GCP he directed them about what to do.  He told them they needed to go out and canvas the neighborhood because Arbery might have gone in somebody’s house.  Gregory McMichaels says in his statement: “he might have gone in somebody’s house.”  Officers, instructed by a man who was involved in the crime, dutifully went out and canvassed the neighborhood to see who else thought Arbery had committed a crime.  In the meantime, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, went home. 

They stayed at home and would never have been prosecuted if the GBI hadn’t taken over the case. 

The Damn Victim: Ahmaud Arbery Case

What happened in Satilla Shores in late 2019 and 2020, was what sociologists call a “moral panic.” 

Neighbors in an almost exclusively white neighborhood started exchanging stories of supposedly stolen property, break ins.  They posted these stories on the internet, specifically on a website that was a neighborhood sharing site.

They were drawn in and drew other people into a dramatic narrative.  There was danger in the neighborhood. 

People just like drama, most of them.  And, this is a culture where crime drama is big business.  Just think of the amount of money that is made off marketing crime, true and fiction.

There are entire TV networks that depend on crime for their cash stream.  Think about Court TV, Headline News and all the reality crime shows like Cops.  Think about the fictional crime series, Law and Order which I think is in it’s 100th season.  People love a good crime drama.

In Satilla Shores, in late 2019 and into 2020, there was a great crime drama shaping up.  The problem was that it was largely in the minds of the residents. 

Larry English was building a house in Satilla Shores.  He had been working on that house for over two years.  The house was framed in, but without doors and windows at least in the front of the house.  English did not live there.  He lived in Douglasville and commuted back and forth to Brunswick to work on his house.

The house was completely open. There were no trespassing signs on it.  There was no fence, there was essentially nothing to prevent any remotely curious person from coming in and walking around.

And, curious people did. 

Larry English had had his boat parked at the house, in the opened RV garage.  One day, when English got up on a ladder, he noticed that items had been stolen out of his boat.  He then began telling neighbors that these items had been stolen.  The problem was that English had not always had the boat parked at the property at Satilla Shores.  He had taken the boat back and forth from Douglasville (and I presume other places).  So, English had no idea that the property was stolen from the location at Satilla Shores.

But, either English didn’t make that clear to the neighbors, or they didn’t want to hear that.  They started buzzing about things being stolen, intruders who might possibly be in the neighborhood.

Also during this time period, a neighbor down the street, Travis McMichael, left his gun in his truck, parked outside his house.  His father, Greg, went out to move the truck and left it unlocked.[1]  The gun was reportedly stolen.  This also set off a buzz in the neighborhood.  A gun had been stolen, high drama.

I do not know, but I can imagine that in this circumstance, every other item that went missing in the neighborhood came to be yet another potentially stolen item, taken by the mysterious intruder, hyping the danger in the minds of the community.

A woman whose parents lived in the neighborhood testified on November 10, 2021 that her elderly parents were concerned about the amount of crime in the neighborhood and were therefore selling their house.  But, when you look at the official Glynn County data, this crime wave does not appear.  There was only one officer assigned to the entire area and it was considered a “low call” area for the police. [2]

But anyone can imagine how this worked.  The drama grew.  Items went missing.  Neighbors had something to talk about, post about.  All of a sudden, people had a mission, an endeavor that was larger than all of them and that united them in a common cause.

In steps Ahmaud Arbery, doing what I and countless people have done hundreds of times before, and walks into the open construction site to look around.  I want to make clear here.  I grew up in Georgia.  I live in Georgia now.  I have gone in a number of partially completed houses while out on a walk.  I have also gone in repeatedly to a house that was completed and had a door that was unlocked.  But, I am a 70-year-old white woman.  I am not a young black man with “dred locks” “fuzzy hair” “tatoos all down both arms” “colored”.

In the middle of all this drama, the perfect victim walked in.  Every racist joke and stereotyped reaction came to play to home in on this one young black man.  “Ya got ‘em?”  That’s what William Bryan shouted out to the two McMichael men in their truck following Arbery down the street.

The crime drama was about to be solved by two, then three, self imagined heroes.   “Ya got ‘em?”  Oh hell yeah, we got him.  These three men did what thousands and thousands of white men have done over the years in this country.  They targeted a young black man, armed themselves and hunted him down, they cornered him “like a rat.” [3] And then they killed him.

These men saw themselves as the avenging angels in this story.  You can still tell by looking at them that they feel that they are ones who are aggrieved here.  They are the ones who have been wronged.

Travis McMichael stood over the body of Ahmaud Arbery and expostulated “Damn Nigger.” [4]  Travis McMichael was swearing at Ahmaud Arbery, and/or about Ahmaud Arbery.  That N made me do this.  It’s all his fault.  And that’s exactly what the defense attorneys in this case are arguing.

This is all Arbery’s fault.  If he hadn’t been in the neighborhood.  If he hadn’t been curious.  If he hadn’t run.  If he had talked to them.  If he hadn’t reached into his pants.  If he hadn’t run at Travis.  If he had stopped.  If he hadn’t been “hauling ass,” nothing would have ever happened.  Everything would be alright.

White men commit the most unspeakable crimes and then blame it on the damn victim.

[1] Much has been made during the trial by the Defense that Greg McMichael is a trained law enforcement officer. Bur, this trained law enforcement officer left a gun in an unlocked truck outside his home. Any neighborhood child could have come and taken the gun and shot himself or others with it.

[2] When the Prosecution moved to place these official crime statistics into evidence, the defense objected.  The official statistics were “hearsay” claimed the defense even though this data was submitted regularly to the FBI and became part of national crime statistics.  The prosecution was required to “certify” the information.  We do not know how this happens or if the Prosecution will try to put the crime statistics on the record again.

[3] This is a direct quote from a statement made by Greg McMichael.

[4] I have never written that word before in my life and I have never said it unless I was describing another person’s statement.  I grew up in the South.  I know what that word means.

Contentious Morning in Ahmaud Arbery Case. Use of Force Expert

A number of motions were taken up this morning in the Ahmaud Arbery case. 

The first was over whether the Defense could call a “use of force” expert to testify about the training supposedly received by Travis and Gregory McMichael.

The state pointed out that none of the people involved in the shotting were law enforcement officers.  While Trais and Gregory McMichael might have received use of force training years ago, they were not acting as law enforcement officers on the day of the shooting.

The State also pointed out that the expert the Defense was proposing to call as a witness had already talked with Travis McMichael.  The State wanted to have the answers Travis gave in this conversation.

The State argued that the testimony of this witness was “irrelevant, confusing and prejudicial.”  The very testimony of this witness gives the actions of the defendants a veneer of law enforcement legitimacy.

The State also noted that a “use of force” expert would testify to training about the “determination of probable cause.”  This is not the role of an expert witness, but the role of the court in a jury charge.

Kevin Gough, attorney for William Bryan, argued that the fact that the state was charging “malice murder” meant that somehow this “use of force” witness would be required to talk about the McMichael’s mental state.  (Note: I don’t understand this argument).

Gough argued that if the State agreed not to challenge the “credibility” of Travis McMichael then there would be no need for the “use of force” expert. 

Gough is the attorney for William Bryan, not for Travis McMichaels.  I am not sure why he is arguing about Travis McMichaels in the first place.  Gough, however, is frequently arguing strange things.  You can almost feel the entire courtroom tense up every time he stands up to speak.  Even the other defense attorneys seem embarrassed by him.

The State informed the court that she had no CV on the proposed expert.  One of Travis McMichael’s attorneys stood up and interrupted her to say that it wasn’t the job of the Defense to provide the State with a CV.

It was an argumentative and sometimes contentious morning.  Gough told the Court that it should be “offended” by the State’s arguments.  Another of the defense attorneys told the Judge that he could either read or listen to arguments (those of the defense attorney) but not do both.