Opinion: There is no conceivable justification for Ahmaud Arbery’s defense treatment | Top stories

Opinion: There is no conceivable justification for Ahmaud Arbery’s defense treatment

| Breaking News Updates | abc News

The details of the case are themselves astounding. According to his family, Arbery – a runner – had gone out jogging. Two white men, saying they were concerned about local break-ins, grabbed their guns, jumped into a truck, pursued Arbery, later joined by a third white man. One of these men shot and killed Arbery with a shotgun. The McMichaels say they were defending themselves while attempting to make a “citizen arrest” – yet Travis McMichael testified during the trial Arbery never threatened any of the men currently on trial for his murder.
That a group of white men felt justified in chasing a black man around their neighborhood – even a man they believe to have committed a burglary (not a capital offense) – and then felt they deserved to get away from it. shooting unharmed after one of them shoots his death is pretty egregious. But compounding this blatant is the racist attack launched against the victim by a member of the defense team. On Monday, defense lawyer Laura Hogue went so far as to say during her argument in the case: “To make Ahmaud Arbery a victim after the choices he made do not reflect the reality of what took Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in her khaki shorts. without socks to cover her long dirty fingernails. “

What does the condition of Arbery’s pedicure have to do with the man who shot him was guilty of murder? Nothing. There is no conceivable justification for Hogue, in his role as his client’s attorney, to cite such details, other than a blatant attempt to paint a racially coded picture in the minds of Arbery’s jurors as less than human, like a dirty beast that posed a legitimate threat. Someone the jury members – almost all of whom are also white – may not want in their own neighborhood, either. It was, it seems, a naked ploy to harness white fear in order to obtain the acquittal of his client.

Arbery’s mother left the courtroom in shock and disgust. She told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was dismayed the defense attempted to “dehumanize” her son.
It was a shameful display and the kind of character assassination tactic of someone who doesn’t believe they can win on the merits. “Literally after these men in this courtroom murdered their child, now they’re sitting here murdering his character,” family lawyer Benjamin Crump said.
Robert Redford: This magical place deserves our protection, and it is one of many
It was also a familiar ploy in America’s long, sad history of racist violence. Time and time again, black victims are vandalized and their names tarnished after their death in an attempt to justify the violence against them. These representations date back to the days of slavery, and in particular to the Age of Reconstruction, when many whites felt threatened by the newfound freedom of blacks. The lynchings and murders, including the murder of a child Emmett Till, were justified by the claim that black men and boys raped or assaulted white women. The image of black men as brutal and savage is perfectly captured in the pro-Ku-Klux-Klan film “Birth of a Nation”.
Decades and over a century later in some cases, these representations have changed, but they have not disappeared. When whites commit acts of violence against blacks, black men, women and even children are routinely slandered as frightening, threatening and beastly, the message being that the white abuser or murderer was acting in self-defense – and the black victim had made him come.
This same trope remains used so often that “he was not an angel” – the line trotted, often by the conservative media and even some mainstream media, after the murders of black men and boys – is widely understood to be a trope. cliche. Even 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by a cop while in the playground, was called a “thug” by the president of a police union and blamed for his own death.

And now here’s Arbery, with the condition of his toenails used in an attempt to justify his murder.

The question now is whether the jury will fall for the trap – or if, after so much has changed and so much has stayed the same, they will see these disgusting tactics for what they are. I hope that by deliberating, whatever outcome they achieve, they will reject this attempt to blame the victims and demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery. But the long story that set the scene for Arbery’s murder, and which plays into the defense strategy of the men who pursued him and the one who pulled the trigger, will not go away when the jury returns their verdict. It’s up to all of us: name these racist tropes, understand their insidiousness and reject them.

Breaking News Updates News Today Opinion: There is no conceivable justification for Ahmaud Arbery’s defense treatment

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button