Second Video in Ahmaud Arbery Case

We now have more context but not more relevant facts.

WaPo (“New video said to show moments leading up to Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery’s death“):

Additional video emerged Saturday that is believed to show the moments leading up to the death of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, whose fatal shooting sparked widespread outrage and demands for action against local law enforcement officials who waited more than two months to arrest suspects in the killing.

[…]

The Atlanta Journal Constitution published surveillance footage Saturday that shows a figure entering a house under construction that day shortly before the shooting, lingering for a few minutes and then jogging toward the location where the men later confronted Arbery. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed the video is part of its investigation but did not identify the figure.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery’s family, tweeted a statement Saturday noting that the figure in the video is believed to be Arbery.
“He engaged in no illegal activity and remained for only a brief period,” Merritt’s statement read. “Ahmaud did not take anything from the construction site. He did not cause any damage to the property.”

The video shows Arbery’s “murder was not justified and the actions of the men who ambushed him were unjustified,” Merritt’s statement read.

Larry English, the man who owns the house under construction, told The Washington Post that the structure was not robbed.

“That’s completely wrong. I’ve never had a police report or anything stolen from my property, or any kind of robbery,” he said.

The video doesn’t add much to our knowledge here.

On the one hand, it corroborates the claims of Arbery’s killers that they saw him at the site or running away from the site. That bolsters the notion that they thought they were going after someone tbey suspected of criminal activity.

But, contrary to the initial claims of local prosecutors, that wouldn’t have justified the actions taken by the perpetrators that led up to their shooting of Arbery. Even if they legitimately believed he was burglarizing a construction site, they had no right to chase him down with loaded firearms and then point them at him demanding he answer their questions.

At the same time, it would seem to belie the notion that these were Klansman who picked out a random black man out for a jog and hunted him down for a “lynching.” More likely, they anointed themselves the Neighborhood Watch and proceeded to act with reckless regard for consequences, quite possibly fueled by alcohol.

If that’s in fact what happened, it doesn’t make Arbery’s death any less tragic or outrageous. And, despite the claims of local prosecutors, it’s clearly still a crime. But it seems unlikely to me that the state will be able to demonstrate the “abandoned and malignant heart” element of felony murder that they’ve charged. Reckless homicide seems to more likely finding here.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    I have walked into partial construction in my neighborhood just to look around. Didńt realize that was a shooting offense.

    27
  2. steve says:

    I live in a fairly large development out in the sticks. Our house was one of the first built. It really wasn’t that unusual for those of us who were there first to pop into a house being built to see what they were doing. Partially just being nosy and partially to say Hi to the workers if they were there. Never really thought about that being legal or not and no one ever shot us for doing it.

    Steve

    16
  3. SKI says:

    At the same time, it would seem to belie the notion that these were Klansman who picked out a random black man out for a jog and hunted him down for a “lynching.” More likely, they anointed themselves the Neighborhood Watch and proceeded to act with reckless regard for consequences, quite possibly fueled by alcohol.

    James, are you suggesting that only the first is fueled by racism? Racism doesn’t require you to be a member of the KKK.

    Especially in light of your last foray on this topic, you may want to clarify as you seem to be setting up a pretty massive strawman whose sole purpose seems mostly to be to minimize the blindingly obvious racism the rest of us see here.

    Are you suggesting that they would have shot a white guy doing the exact same thing? Do you really believe that? Because…

    24
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the one hand, it corroborates the claims of Arbery’s killers that they saw him at the site or running away from the site.

    Doing a thing for which no white man would be chased down and shot for.

    That bolsters the notion that they thought they were going after someone they suspected of criminal activity.

    No, it does not and you damn well know it, because another interpretation, at least as likely, is that they were going after a nosy ass ni**er to put him in his place.

    At the same time, it would seem to belie the notion that these were Klansman who picked out a random black man out for a jog and hunted him down for a “lynching.”

    On what basis do you reach that conclusion? Because they weren’t wearing robes?

    More likely, they anointed themselves the Neighborhood Watch and proceeded to act with reckless regard for consequences, quite possibly fueled by alcohol.

    Just like every other lynch mob since the beginning of time.

    Well done, James. It’s a good thing you aren’t their defense attorney because you just destroyed whatever argument you were trying to make.

    24
  5. CSK says:

    @Joe: @steve:
    At this point, it would probably be easier to find adults who have walked into construction sites than haven’t.

    11
  6. @James

    At the same time, it would seem to belie the notion that these were Klansman who picked out a random black man out for a jog and hunted him down for a “lynching.”

    I think this is a highly problematic framing. While I suspect that there have been people on social media who have made such claims, the McMichaels don’t have to be KKK types for this to be an action motivated by race.

    When we make “racism” equal “KKK membership” we undercut and excuse a lot of very real racism in our society.

    I think it highly likely the fact that Arbery was black substantially increased the McMichaels’ belief that he was a criminal. That’s racism, pure and simple. I think, too, the fact he was black increased their willingness to confront him as they did. It also likely made them think he didn’t belong in their neighborhood.

    Do we have facts to support this view? Not directly, no. But knowing what you know about American culture, and small town Georgia culture, what are the probabilities?

    And how many white neighbors do you think have walked onto that construction site to see what the new house out of curiosity? When our neighborhood was still being built out, we used to regularly go onto construction sites to check out the new houses.

    These men have the right to a fair trial and the legal presumption of innocence. However, the context and American history dictate quite clearly that these men were racially motivated and that had Arbery been white and done exactly the same things, he would not have been confronted and would still be alive.

    32
  7. KM says:

    On the one hand, it corroborates the claims of Arbery’s killers that they saw him at the site or running away from the site. That bolsters the notion that they thought they were going after someone tbey suspected of criminal activity.

    Except it turns out that’s a lie. There was no string of burglaries like they claim; in fact the only record the police have is someone taking an unsecured weapon from one of THEIR cars earlier. Hell, we don’t even have proof their car was broken-in to or the weapon was taken from the car since it seems like it was unlocked and these doofuses could have lost their gun somewhere else. In fact, if I were to be particularly uncharitable, I would say that somebody needs to check the ballistics to see if the “missing gun” turns out to be the murder weapon in this or another incident they’ve had and it’s disappearance was premeditated as filming their hunt seems to have been.

    This feels *personal*. Somebody took something from THEM thus it must be a “crime wave”. They saw a black man having the gall to do something they felt suspicious in their neighborhood and immediately went 2+2=47. Arbery committed no crime they could see, prove or even speculate on that wasn’t in their heads. Hell, the video isn’t even definitively of him! Again, no record of multiple burglaries, only them extrapolating from their own personal experiences and prejudices and having a gun go missing from an unlocked car. They were out looking for trouble and when they couldn’t find it, manufactured it.

    But it seems unlikely to me that the state will be able to demonstrate the “abandoned and malignant heart” element of felony murder that they’ve charged.

    Bull. Shit.

    Arbery could have been a career criminal and that still wouldn’t have made a lick of difference. James, you were so intent on honoring “innocent until proven guilty” for the McMichaels so you must support it for Arbery as well. This video means nothing unless you are trying to excuse two angry old men from killing an innocent jogger. They singled him out with no evidence or even a justified guess. They picked him out at random, *admitting* they wanted to “question” him because they weren’t sure on the 9/11 call.

    25
  8. Pylon says:

    There’s no evidence that the assassins saw Arbery at the construction site. The house owner said he never shared a video. They certainly didn’t mention any such claim to police – they just said they saw a guy who “fit the description” of someone involved in previous burglaries (which as KM points out seems to be a fabrication). This is important since GA law seems to require actual witnessing of a crime to make a citizen’s arrest. Not to mention the crime has go be a felony and GA law states that simple trespass is only a misdemeanour.

    Honestly, I’ve seem so many people trying to justify this killing – to the point of making up details that “disprove” something – “he was wearing cargo shorts and hiking boots” (nope). He was “10 miles from home“ (nope, more like 2.2 – a decent amount for a run, plus, who walks 10 miles to steal from a construction site with nothing to carry things with). “He had a hammer” (nope). “It was too hot to jog” (it was, in fact, 62 degrees).

    Sympathizers are now claiming he ran at the shooter, thus forcing him to shoot in self defence. Self defence doesn’t work when you initiate a conflict, which they clearly did. Arbery was trapped between two vehicles and a guy with a shotgun. He ran around the vehicle and was, at all times, too close to outrun a bullet or hide.

    This is a sickening episode.

    27
  9. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    Especially in light of your last foray on this topic, you may want to clarify as you seem to be setting up a pretty massive strawman whose sole purpose seems mostly to be to minimize the blindingly obvious racism the rest of us see here.

    Are you suggesting that they would have shot a white guy doing the exact same thing? Do you really believe that? Because…

    and

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think it highly likely the fact that Arbery was black substantially increased the McMichaels’ belief that he was a criminal. That’s racism, pure and simple. I think, too, the fact he was black increased their willingness to confront him as they did. It also likely made them think he didn’t belong in their neighborhood.

    Oh, we’re in agreement.

    I said this in the OP of my first foray into the topic:

    And, yes, there’s a huge racial component to the issue. I have no evidence the McMichaels were particularly racist, much less intended to kill Arbery when they began pursuit. But one suspects they’d have perceived a 26-year-old white man running through their neighborhood dressed similarly as less threatening. And been less likely to give chase, much less use deadly force, given similar circumstances.

    And I clarified this further in the comments section discussion.

    But what I’m doing is pushing back against some of the vitriol I’m seeing from well-meaning friends and grandstanding politicians. It’s one thing for racial bias to be a factor in the circumstances that led to the shooting. It’s quite another for it to be a racially-motivated lynching.

    I’m guessing these guys are no more racist than the average rural Georgian of their age and social class. But, yes, that means they’re more likely to interpret a young black man nosing around a construction site differently than they would you or me. That makes them ignorant, not evil.

    Based on what I know now, I have no reason to think they intended to murder Avery when they chased after him. Things got out of hand as a foreseeable consequence of their recklessness and an innocent young man is dead. They have rightly been charged with a crime and should face jail time.

    But I think felony murder is an overcharge here and will likely backfire.

    4
  10. James Joyner says:

    @KM:

    Except it turns out that’s a lie. There was no string of burglaries like they claim; in fact the only record the police have is someone taking an unsecured weapon from one of THEIR cars earlier.

    No, as noted in my previous post, there were a series of phone calls about someone trespassing at the construction site. In their minds, it was likely a burglary—even though the guy who was having it built has now said nothing was stolen.

    James, you were so intent on honoring “innocent until proven guilty” for the McMichaels so you must support it for Arbery as well. This video means nothing unless you are trying to excuse two angry old men from killing an innocent jogger.

    No, I’ve repeatedly said I think Avery was innocent and the McMichaels are guilty of reckless homicide and several lesser-included offenses. I’m merely pushing back against the framing of this as “hunting” and “lynching” and other descriptions I’ve seen repeatedly made by reasonable people.

    Obviously, racism is an issue here. But so is gun culture and the notion, all too prevalent in Southern and rural culture, that it’s manly for citizens to grab their guns and go vigilante at signs of crime.

    7
  11. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    These men have the right to a fair trial and the legal presumption of innocence.

    I think this is a point that needs some serious refreshing in the public mind. You have the right to be legally consider innocent if you assassinate the President in plain sight of thousands of people at Inauguration. You have the legally consider innocent if you get caught literally in the act of raping someone (think Brock Turner). An unmasked bank robber gets to claim they didn’t do with half a dozen witnesses and security footage.

    This doesn’t mean you’re actually innocent or people need to consider you as such. We need to stop chastising people for not”giving the benefit of the doubt” when it’s freaking obvious what happened.

    Presumption of innocence means the law needs to start from the position that you didn’t do nuthin’ and work to prove their case. It doesn’t mean everybody and their mother needs to abandon rational thought and the evidence of their own eyes to accept a legal premise. The law and real life diverge quite often. We can support a legal principle that allows for the defense of the accused being automatic innocence while still accepting reality that they clearly did it.

    America needs to get better with this. That’s why James got piled on last post. One can support “innocent until proven guilty” without carrying water for the accused. Much like with “free speech”, a basic concept has gotten distorted and abused by certain groups for their benefit. In this case, a pair of racist killers are demanding we think them as innocent when they refused to grant their victim the same courtesy.

    20
  12. senyorDave says:

    This just seems like an attempt to normalize this behavior.

    6
  13. mattbernius says:

    I’m pretty much talked out on this one.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    When we make “racism” equal “KKK membership” we undercut and excuse a lot of very real racism in our society.

    THIS.

    @James Joyner:

    But I think felony murder is an overcharge here and will likely backfire.

    Again, Georgia is well known for charing felony murder in “gone wrong” cases. So what we are seeing here is, apparently, a standard application of the law. I tend to agree with you that this is probably an overcharging (as it is in many “robbery gone wrong” cases). But that speaks more to the Georgia justice system than this specific case. Ditto GA’s accessory to felony murder laws.

    So I would much prefer that we had that larger conversation than saying “in this one case” the normal application of (wrongheaded) GA criminal statutes is wrongheaded.

    9
  14. KM says:

    @James Joyner :
    Are you serious?? They’re ex-LEOs – they know the difference between trespassing and burglaries! In fact, their law enforcement connects make this even worse for them as former authorities and having connections with inside info. You think they didn’t check with their buddies on the force after something went missing from their car? I can’t think of the term right now but by nature of their position, they’re held to a higher standard then you and me. No excuses for this – it was an assumption and it had no basis in fact. No justifiable probable cause for a trained person to make when *nothing was taken*.

    There were NO thefts according to the police besides them. As for the calls, who made them? Not the owner apparently. Perhaps the McMichaels themselves or people who automatically thought black = criminal. Remember, on the 9/11 call they made they specifically stated they thought he was a suspect in burglaries, not trespassing. They were already primed by bias to make false claims but even if they did think there was a burgler, they had no reason to think *HE* was the burgler!

    From a 9/11 call that day:

    Dispatcher: And you said someone is breaking into it right now?

    Caller: No. It’s all open, it’s under construction. And he’s running right now! There he goes right now.

    Dispatcher: OK. What is he doing?

    Caller: He’s running down the street.

    They do not say they saw him at the site. They do not say he was the tresspasser. They say they saw a guy and there’s a guy running down the street. They are assuming it’s the same guy. Since there’s calls about a “black male running down the street” several times, it seems the neighbors had a problem with him jogging there in the first place.

    Where was Arbery’s presumption of innocence? Why were they so insistent he was a thief with no proof or evidence of thefts in the area? At worst, they had a persistent trespasser that the owner says caused no problem. It’s pretty clear the ex-LEOs made a bad decision and need to be held accountable for their fault judgment leading to the death of an innocent.

    16
  15. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think it highly likely the fact that Arbery was black substantially increased the McMichaels’ belief that he was a criminal. That’s racism, pure and simple. I think, too, the fact he was black increased their willingness to confront him as they did. It also likely made them think he didn’t belong in their neighborhood.

    In addition to all of the above, there’s one other key thing that racism most likely did: it most likely made them see him as “more dangerous” and “possibly armed” too. So that only increased the overall tension of the confrontation and made them even jumpier.

    There are more than enough studies at this point–not to mention real world occurances–to demonstrate that people see brown and black people as older and more threatening.

    11
  16. EddieInCA says:

    @James Joyner:

    No, I’ve repeatedly said I think Avery was innocent and the McMichaels are guilty of reckless homicide and several lesser-included offenses. I’m merely pushing back against the framing of this as “hunting” and “lynching” and other descriptions I’ve seen repeatedly made by reasonable people.

    lynch
    /lin(t)SH/
    verb
    gerund or present participle: lynching; noun: lynching

    (of a mob) kill (someone), for an alleged offense with or without a legal trial.
    “her father had been lynched for a crime he didn’t commit”

    Still a bad take, James. Stop trying to minimize what these two did. Just because they’re just average racists doesn’t mitigate their crime. By Georgia statute, it’s a slam dunk case of Murder.

    Just stop it. It’s not pre-1965. This stuff isn’t defensible, for any reason.

    19
  17. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s one thing for racial bias to be a factor in the circumstances that led to the shooting. It’s quite another for it to be a racially-motivated lynching.

    What are the differences?

    They targeted him because of his race.

    Why are you trying to accomplish in your parsing? Because it *really* sounds like you are trying to excuse racism as “normal” and something they didn’t have control over. It just happened and we should accept it.

    Obviously, racism is an issue here. But so is gun culture and the notion, all too prevalent in Southern and rural culture, that it’s manly for citizens to grab their guns and go vigilante at signs of crime.

    Except the “sign of crime” was a black man jogging in their neighborhood. That is flat out racism. It is the condition precedent for the entire incident.

    It is *exactly* like a lynching. They thought a black man had done something wrong and they took the law into their own hands and killed him over it. How is that not a lynching?

    How, and why, are you resisting that label?

    14
  18. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s one thing for racial bias to be a factor in the circumstances that led to the shooting. It’s quite another for it to be a racially-motivated lynching.

    and

    I’m merely pushing back against the framing of this as “hunting” and “lynching” and other descriptions I’ve seen repeatedly made by reasonable people.

    I think we are at a fundamental disconnect. You seem to be saying that their level of racism is normal for Georgia and so we shouldn’t count it as racist? And we should use other words than “hunting” for them running to get their guns, tracking down this man, and then shooting him. It sure sounds like “hunting” to me.

    9
  19. drj says:

    @MarkedMan:

    And we should use other words than “hunting” for them running to get their guns, tracking down this man, and then shooting him. It sure sounds like “hunting” to me.

    Yes, because if Arbery had simply complied during an illegal citizen’s arrest for exercising while black, he may not have been killed. So it’s not really hunting, if you catch my drift.

    That, as far as I can tell, is his argument.

    5
  20. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Perhaps we should use words like “ambush” or “targeted hit on an unarmed man”?

    Perhaps James is correct and they didn’t start of intending to kill him while they were clearly lying in wait for him as per the video. However, the second he didn’t do what they wanted – got uppity and dared to think he could defend himself – they shot to kill. That’s still not accident homicide or manslaughter. There was clearly a plan – they were waiting and filming the thing. They’re on 9/11 calls admitting they planned to stop him and have no just cause. Unlawful imprisonment is a felony in Georgia and when a death occurs during a felony, guess what you get charged with? So yes, felony murder is appropriate since they clearly unlawfully detained him – citizens arrest doesn’t apply when you don’t witness a crime.

    What James is objecting to seems to be harsh language when describing the motives of the killers. As I said before, we are under no obligation by law to be kind in our judgment of what we see outside a court of law. I owe them no benefit of the doubt and their own actions – as witnessed by mine own eyes from video they themselves took – shows behavior far more indicative of hunting then rational confrontation of a suspected criminal. After all, ex-LEOs so they know how to safely and properly approach a “suspect” of a minor and non-violent “crime”. Hint: it’s *not* leaping screaming from a truck while the guy goes running by. They are acting like hunters or a mob after a target, not ex-professionals who should know how to do this properly. Again, the McMichaels need to be held to a higher standard since they’ve been trained how to do this without it ending in bloodshed.

    If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s not a zebra. If you’re on video acting like you’re part of an unruly mob or hunters out for blood, don’t be surprised people use terms to describe it as such.

    16
  21. Joe says:

    There are more than enough studies at this point–not to mention real world occurances–to demonstrate that [non-black and brown] people see brown and black people as older and more threatening.

    @mattbernius, not all people see these things.

    2
  22. Kurtz says:

    @Joe:

    @mattbernius, not all people see these things.

    My interest in talking to people is largely focused on how they come about their beliefs.

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    @KM:

    they know the difference between trespassing

    One thing I’d like to note here: if the construction site isn’t fenced off or otherwise posted, walking on to it isn’t even trespassing. It only becomes trespassing if you enter after the owner’s made it known they don’t want you there in some manner.

    7
  24. mattbernius says:

    @Joe:

    @mattbernius, not all people see these things.

    Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Part of the impact of structural racism is that, while their scores are not as bad as people from ethnic groups, on perception tests, members of minorities still see brown and black as more dangerous. I will see about pulling and linking some of those studies.

    This is also why, while it can help, simply “adding more black cops” has never been shown to significantly improve community use of force and racial profiling complaints in the long term.

    10
  25. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Correct. From the transcript of the call itself, they pointed out that it’s open and no sort of breaking in or illegal entry was done. “It’s all open” meaning there was nothing to impede entry.

    This is what’s pissing me off so much about this case. These guys don’t even have whatever flimsy legal cover Zimmerman may have had. They can’t cite citizens arrest – their call invalidates it when they say they want to question him as it indicates they saw nothing to justify an arrest. No thefts in the area to justify fears of a crime wave or burgler. Not part of a neighborhood watch or anything to give them any sort of authority to be stalking someone running through the neighborhood. Not even proof of trespassing, mere suspicions and “I saw a guy”. Clearly stated intent to confront on multiple records (call, video) and did so in an aggressive, armed manner that lead the victim to fear for his life. A death occurred during a felony (unlawful imprisonment and detention) so it’s automatically felony murder.

    A freaking slam dunk.

    And yet. And yet….

    7
  26. MarkedMan says:

    @mattbernius:

    members of minorities still see brown and black as more dangerous

    I think the “minority” part of that equation is key. I lived for two years in a small village in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. I saw other white people rarely enough that I reached the point where they looked kind of strange to me (did you know you can look at the faces of most white people and see veins under their skin? Very creepy…) Some time after I returned there was a researcher who had set up a website to measure subconscious bias – something about showing negatively or positively weighted terms and then pictures of people of various races and you had to press a button… actually, it was a long time ago, so I may have the details wrong. I tested out as having no subconscious bias. Now, I grew up on the south side of Chicago at a very racially charged time. The diversity of my classmates ranged from Irish Catholics to Italian Catholics to Polish Catholics. We literally had only one black kid out of 1700 students. I bring this up as a way of saying I almost certainly was raised with lots of unconscious bias. But once I got to the point that blackness was the norm and whiteness was the oddity, it changed my default state.

    6
  27. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m guessing these guys are no more racist than the average rural Georgian of their age and social class.

    That says something rather terrible about the average rural Georgian of their age and social class, doesn’t it? I think I’d rather *guess* that they were abnormally racist, even for rural Georgia. African Americans are not being gunned down vigilante style while jogging every day (not that it should ever happen), any more than they were being lynched every day a century ago. But how you could see this as anything other than a pair of racists hunting down and murdering a black man is beyond me. They would not have chased down, threatened, and murdered a white teen jogging away from the building. Period.

    And even if it was true that they were just “normally racist” for rural Georgia, SO WHAT? How does that make what they did less horrible in any way at all? If anything that makes it worse. You may be right about that–the original prosecutor apparently is about as racist (if two black men chased down a white teen running away from a construction site, having made the exact same calls and taken the same actions, does anyone think he wouldn’t have made arrests immediately or declined to prosecute for months?). But if you are right, that means the rest of us need to condemn what happened even more fervently.

    14
  28. Stormy Dragon says:

    @mattbernius:

    This is also why, while it can help, simply “adding more black cops” has never been shown to significantly improve community use of force and racial profiling complaints in the long term.

    Indeed, minority police officers are sometimes the worst toward minority members of the public, since the white officers perceive them as having a “divided loyalty” and the minority officers overcompensate to prove they’re part of the “team”.

    2
  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: Are you black? Well, there you go; maybe it isn’t in your case.

    1
  30. Northerner says:

    @SKI:

    Well, white people regularly shoot each other for cutting them off in traffic or over a parking-spot at a mall, so it’s quite possible they’d have shot a white man for the same thing. White’s killing whites has never been rare.

    But in this case its hard not to think that him being black was part of their decision.

    2
  31. Stormy Dragon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Some time after I returned there was a researcher who had set up a website to measure subconscious bias – something about showing negatively or positively weighted terms and then pictures of people of various races and you had to press a button… actually, it was a long time ago, so I may have the details wrong.

    A less political version of the effect these tests are based on, to demonstrate the effect: you show a series of color swatches and then time how long it takes them to respond with what color they see (e.g. they see a red swatch and say “red”). Then you show them a series of words naming colors and time how long it takes them to respond with what color was named (e.g. they see the word “green” and say “green”). Then you show a series of color names that have a particular color that does not match the word (e.g. the word “blue” but it’s colored yellow) and time them how long it takes to name the color the word is rather then the color the word says. Most people do horrible at the last task because their brains have trouble separate the two sets of information because they’re too close to each other.

    How this works for measuring bias: you show a series of faces and have them push one button if the person is white or a second button if the person is black (or randomly vice versa). Then you show a series of words and push one button if the word is positive (“e.g. happiness”) and a second button if the word is negative (“e.g. sadness”). Then you do two sets where you randomly combine the faces and words: in the first set button one is positive words and white people, button two is negative words and black people. In the final set, button one is positive words and black people and second button is negative words and white people.

    Most people can do the third set at a much faster rate than the fourth set, because they find grouping white people with positive words is much easier than grouping black people with positive words.

    3
  32. CSK says:

    The DOJ is considering charging the McMichaels duo with a federal hate crime.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    This back and forth has really driven home to me just what a national catastrophe the Republican Southern Strategy has been for the entire country. In the fifties and early sixties there was real movement to finally address the deep depravity of white culture in the South. The dominant party in the South, the Democrats, were slowly starting to turn towards the light after having shielded and abetted this depravity for a century or more. Immeasurable evil was done when the Republicans, primarily a Northern Party at the time, essentially came to the leaders of the Dixiecrats and said, “Ignore those cries for change. Join us. We’ll have your back.” As Lee Atwater, Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager said at the end of his life:

    Y’all don’t quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger”. By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this”, is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger”. So, any way you look at it, race is coming on the backbone

    So when handsome, sophisticated Ronald Reagan started off his campaign with a big rally outside of Philadelphia, MS, home of some of the most infamous killings of civil rights workers by a lynch mob, and talked about States Rights and welfare queens, the message was very, very clear.

    When Republican Senator and Party leader Jacob Javits publicly warned his party in 1964 against pursuing the Southern Strategy, he argued that his fellow Party leaders were naive in their belief that they could bring the racists in for just one election, and then go back to normal. And he was right beyond what even he imagined, for the Republican Party has become the party of Mississippi and Alabama. Corrupt to the core, uninterested in actually accomplishing anything for the public good, attentive only in doing the bidding of wealthy, above all determined to keep the poor man down, and using their main weapon in that fight – ginning up racial and sexual hysteria and resentment, over and over and over. The party, now in National power, governs as the Mississippians and Alabamians govern, ineptly, resentfully, vengefully.

    12
  34. mattbernius says:

    I highly recommend this article at ArcDigital — in particular for the Murder Charge question.
    https://arcdigital.media/the-ahmaud-arbery-killing-and-georgia-law-72ebb5c7643b

    An exceprt:

    Georgia does not have meaningful degrees for the murder of adults. If you intend to kill someone, or if you are committing any felony at all when you kill them, it is capital murder. And that list of felonies includes, bizarrely enough, aggravated assault. That means that in any case where you have a weapon, and the victim is aware of that weapon, and the victim dies, you are guilty of murder. “Malice” murder is basically vestigial, because in Georgia, prosecutors never need to prove intent to kill.

    The author is a well regarded Appellate Attorney in Georgia.

    8
  35. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m guessing these guys are no more racist than the average rural Georgian of their age and social class.

    Are you seriously claiming that there are millions of Georgians who, in the same circumstances, would have murdered the random black man? That is the most scathing indictment of Georgia, and presumably the South in general, that I have ever heard. Except for the part where you somehow aren’t willing to call that ‘evil’…

    3
  36. DrDaveT says:

    @Northerner:

    Well, white people regularly shoot each other for cutting them off in traffic or over a parking-spot at a mall, so it’s quite possible they’d have shot a white man for the same thing.

    What “same thing”? Jogging? Why are you comparing cases with personal provocation to this case, where there was none?

    3
  37. Northerner says:

    @DrDaveT:

    What “same thing”? Jogging? Why are you comparing cases with personal provocation to this case, where there was none?

    Fair enough. How about this: some (or actually many) white people have been known to kill other white people without any provocation at all — in fact apparently just for the fun of killing someone.

    As I previously said, in this case its hard to imagine racism wasn’t involved. But that isn’t mutually exclusive with realizing that some white people have randomly killed other white people for no particular reason at all. The idea that white people universally treat other white people humanely is a strange one.

    1
  38. grumpy realist says:

    death + commission of felony –> felony murder. I’d have to research the Georgia laws to see whether they’ve got the equivalent of a felony false imprisonment.

    I think some states keep death due to criminal negligence down at the level of manslaughter, but quite a few will hike it up to murder in the second degree (used to be called Cruel and Depraved Heart Murder) if the actions are negligent enough. If the risk is high enough (you did something so stupid that someone was bound to get killed, e.g. shooting wildly at a packed audience from 30 ft away) a prosecutor can argue first degree murder.

    And just because these guys lost their heads and fired shots, thinking it was all legal because they were out playing policemen–doesn’t mean that they were right. Furthermore, “self-defence” isn’t an all-purpose get-out-of-jail clause, especially when you are the initial aggressor.

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Northerner:

    The idea that white people universally treat other white people humanely is a strange one.

    It certainly would be, if anyone had ever entertained it.

    Why do you think that white on white crime is in any way relevant to this conversation, or this story? Be specific.

  40. Northerner says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Why do you think that white on white crime is in any way relevant to this conversation, or this story? Be specific.

    I don’t. Ski however does, in that he said:

    Are you suggesting that they would have shot a white guy doing the exact same thing? Do you really believe that? Because…

    My response was and is: I think racism played a major part in the shooting. And I simultaneously think they might well have shot a white guy doing the same thing, given the long history of white-on-white crime (despite what some people believe, most whites are killed by other whites). Its quite possible (and probably common) for a white to be racist against blacks but also go out and kill whites. I didn’t bring in white-on-white crime, I was responding to a post that did.

  41. SKI says:

    @Northerner:

    My response was and is: I think racism played a major part in the shooting. And I think they might well have shot a white guy doing the same thing, given the long history of white-on-white crime (despite what some people believe, most whites are killed by other whites). I didn’t bring in white-on-white crime, I was responding to a post that did.

    This is really obtuse.

    Do white people commit crimes against other white people? Yup. Of course. It is a complete strawman to claim that anyone said otherwise.

    Do white people *target* white people, not as individuals but as “white people”? Nope. This doesn’t happen. Look at the examples raised upthread: “shot at someone who…” Exactly. They targeted an individual who did something to them. Not some random member of heir own group.

    Minorities get targeted. “Others” get targeted.
    Within groups, individuals get targeted, not the group itself.

    In the GA case, they targeted a black man jogging. They wouldn’t have targeted someone who was white jogging.

    They shot a black man, and presumed he was a criminal, for looking at a construction site. They wouldn’t have shot a white person for looking at a construction site, nor presume criminality.

    Everything they did was infused and derived from racism.

  42. The Middle Man says:

    @SKI: @SKI: “They wouldn’t have shot a white person for looking at a construction site, nor presume criminality.
    Everything they did was infused and derived from racism.”
    Do you have some sort of superpower that allows you to read minds? Nothing exposes your own bigotry as quickly as using “IF it was a (insert definition of a group you are not a member of) YOU know it wouldn’t have happened.” You don’t know a damn thing and your presumption is based on your own bigotry.

  43. The Middle Man says:

    @KM: I have been hunting a lot of times and not once has the deer charged me from 20 feet away and tried to wrestle the shotgun from me.

  44. Northerner says:

    @SKI:

    You’re right that whites don’t target whites because they’re white. They target them because they’re not the right kind of white (ie not “one of us”). Because they’re where they “shouldn’t be”. Because they dress funny, or are supporting the wrong cause, or because they speak a different language. There are a lot more categories than racial ones, and you can be targeted for being in the wrong group (as opposed to being targeted as an individual) without race coming into the picture. Again, this is a basic historical fact.

    Do you seriously think that a couple of vigilante wanna-bees, on getting a report that some unknown white guy went into a building under construction and then saw a strange young white man jogging by wouldn’t throw their guns into their truck and drive off after him?

  45. @The Middle Man:

    I have been hunting a lot of times and not once has the deer charged me from 20 feet away and tried to wrestle the shotgun from me.

    a) He didn’t charge them, he was jogging.

    b) They were in the middle of the road waiting for him.

    c) Human beings aren’t wildlife. You might want to reconsider that comparison.

    2
  46. @The Middle Man: His presumption, unfortunately, is based on the way in which black males are far more likely to be targetted as criminals and white males more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt.

    It is also rather clearly based on the number of unarmed blacks who have been killed “in self-defense” on an alarmingly ongoing basis.

    Why is this so hard to acknowledge?

    2
  47. SKI says:

    @Northerner:

    Do you seriously think that a couple of vigilante wanna-bees, on getting a report that some unknown white guy went into a building under construction and then saw a strange young white man jogging by wouldn’t throw their guns into their truck and drive off after him?

    Reality tells us that what happened, doesn’t happen with any frequency with non PoC.

    @The Middle Man:

    Do you have some sort of superpower that allows you to read minds? Nothing exposes your own bigotry as quickly as using “IF it was a (insert definition of a group you are not a member of) YOU know it wouldn’t have happened.” You don’t know a damn thing and your presumption is based on your own bigotry.

    Uh huh. Right. I’m the bigot for recognizing the reality of life in the USA. Not you with your comparison of a black man to game to be hunted.

    1
  48. Northerner says:

    @SKI:

    As I’ve said twice before, I think the killing of Arbery was racially motivated. However, I’d be willing to bet (I haven’t seen stats one way or the other, so it would be a bet) that whites kill more whites than they kill blacks, and often no more reason than in Johnny Cash’s song (just to see them die). You seem to feel its mutually exclusive, that because those two murdered Abery because he was black (as seems extremely likely) means they wouldn’t have murdered a white guy because he’d been in a building, or because they didn’t like his face, or just because it seemed like a fun thing to do.

    People who find it easy to kill simply aren’t always that fussy about why they do it.

  49. HelloWorld! says:

    “That bolsters the notion that they thought they were going after someone tbey suspected of criminal activity.”

    That’s total BS. Can anyone white on this forum honestly say they have never browsed around a construction site to see what’s being built? It only bolsters my previous claim that the stereotype of truth is that older white men in georgia are racists.

    1
  50. SKI says:

    @Northerner:

    However, I’d be willing to bet (I haven’t seen stats one way or the other, so it would be a bet) that whites kill more whites than they kill blacks, and often no more reason than in Johnny Cash’s song (just to see them die). You seem to feel its mutually exclusive, that because those two murdered Abery because he was black (as seems extremely likely) means they wouldn’t have murdered a white guy because he’d been in a building, or because they didn’t like his face, or just because it seemed like a fun thing to do.

    You seem to have reading comprehension issues or are having problems dealing with what I actually said and keep needing to construct this strawman…

    If you actually care, most murders are not random. The victim normally knows their killer.
    Killing for no reason is incredibly rare. Most humans aren’t sociopaths. It takes either specific motivation or extreme “othering”.