The Ahmaud Arbery Shooting

A seemingly innocent black man has been killed, sparking a wave of outrage.

I seldom comment on local murder investigations, in that it’s nearly impossible to know all the facts from afar. But there’s been enough discussion of this one on my social media feeds and in the open fora here that it’s worth starting a conversation about it.

The video, which is widely available online, is troubling. It shows a young man’s life being ended. But it’s hardly conclusive. It doesn’t show anything that happened shortly before the shooting that would provide necessary context.

Arbery’s family, outraged by weeks of local officials failing to file charges, have done a masterful job of portraying him as a clean-cut young man murdered for jogging.

The shooters, a retired police officer and his 34-year-old son, claim that they were pursuing him because he matched the description of a man seen burglarizing the neighborhood and they shot him in self-defense when he tried to attack them. Subsequent investigation shows that there had been no home burglaries in said neighborhood in the weeks prior to the shooting. That would seem damning, except for this from the NYT:

When the police arrived after the shooting, Gregory McMichael said that Mr. Arbery had looked like the suspect in a string of break-ins in the area.

Since last August, there had been at least three calls to police about a man trespassing on a property in the neighborhood, according to documents released by the Glynn County Police Department in response to a public records request. In the weeks before the shooting, Travis McMichael had also called to report that a firearm had been stolen from his truck.

In October, a caller reported that a man had been seen on a camera system for a property that was being built in the neighborhood. In November, the same caller again reported something similar.

On Feb. 11, another call was made to 911 by someone who said he had caught a man trespassing in a house. The caller, who said he had not seen the man before, had “just chased him” and was sitting outside the house, waiting for police to respond, in a red Ford 150 pickup, the same kind of truck that Travis McMichael reported a weapon stolen from weeks earlier.

The identity of the caller or callers was redacted from the reports.

I don’t know what to make of that. McMichaels men, one of whom was a retired law enforcement officer, may genuinely have been trying to protect their neighborhood. Or they may have been lying in wait.

The actions of local law enforcement were, to say the least, not reassuring. Given both conflicts of interests in a small town, where prosecutors had a relationship with a retired cop, it’s somewhat understandable. And, like it or not—and I don’t—it’s quite likely that chasing down a burglary suspect and then using deadly force when frightened is perfectly legal in Georgia.

But I’m equally leery of the actions of state authorities in recent days. We have a racially-tinged incident in a country where white cops and would-be cops routinely kill young black men and get away with it. Under pressure to do something where local authorities wouldn’t, the state police have not only arrested the men but charged them with felony murder, which will almost certainly not be provable in court. Further, they have been denied bail despite, as best I can tell, having been model citizens before this incident and demonstrating no flight risk.

Facebook friends are calling this “murder” and assuming racist intent. But there’s no evidence of which I’m aware, other than that they’re white men from small-town Georgia, that these men are bigots. Much less that they intended to murder Arbery.

My strong guess, based on the cursory evidence I’ve seen, is that Arbery was indeed an innocent man killed for no good reason. But, absent strong evidence to the contrary, this looks to me like ill-advised vigilantism gone wrong.

The 64-year-old retired cop missed the action. His untrained, fatass son got scared when a young black man quite understandably tried to wrest his long gun away from him after shots had already been fired and shot him.

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.

It’s possible here to both be outraged that a young black man is dead and think the white men who killed him aren’t guilty of murder. And, indeed, that’s where I am given the limited information at my disposal.

Should it be legal for ordinary citizens to take the law into their own hands, chase down a criminal suspect while heavily armed, and put themselves in a situation where deadly force is a strong possibility? No. But it almost certainly is.

It’s long been obvious, going back to at least the Treyvon Martin case, that it’s dangerous to have untrained yahoos out there playing wannabe cop. Real police officers, even those with weeks of training and years on the job, too often get scared and trigger-happy. Sadly, especially when the suspect is a young, black man. But we don’t need to compound the problem by empowering every citizen with a gun and a pickup truck trying to be a hero.

UPDATE: Commenters point me to David French’s take on the situation. He agrees with me that this was vigilantism run amok but thinks the facts constitute murder under Georgia law.

His account of the facts are more detailed than the NYT stories I relied on but don’t materially change my view of the situation: Arbery was regularly seen in the neighborhood, probably just jogging but also possibly taking a perfectly innocent look into an ongoing home construction project, and the McMichaels or somebody else had repeatedly called police to report him as suspicious. In this instance, they gave chase, called 9/11, and ultimately shot him.

Here’s the key bit in terms of the legalities:

Georgia law does indeed permit a person to execute a citizen’s arrest—in very narrow circumstances. The relevant false arrest statute holds that a “private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.”
Once the citizen’s arrest is properly made, Georgia law requires the citizen to take the suspect before a judicial officer or peace officer “without any unnecessary delay.” 

It’s also true, however, that an unlawful attempt to take and hold a person is itself a crime—false imprisonment. Under Georgia law, a person commits the crime of false imprisonment “when, in violation of the personal liberty of another, he arrests, confines, or detains such person without legal authority.”

Moreover, according to Georgia case law, one cannot use the citizen’s arrest statute “to question” a suspect. In fact, stating an intention to question a suspect can be evidence that the individual claiming a right to make a citizen’s arrest is “uncertain and did not have immediate knowledge” that the victim had been the perpetrator of the alleged crime. 

Now, let’s apply the law to the facts. On the day Arbery died, a 911 caller said a man matching Arbery’s description was walking inside a vacant construction site. Another caller said, “There’s a black male running down the street.” Gregory McMichael claimed he recognized Arbery from “surveillance video” after “several break-ins in the neighborhood.” 

The only “offense” committed in anyone’s presence is the report of a person walking into a construction site. If that merits mounting up an armed three-person, two-vehicle posse to chase a man in broad daylight and menace him with weapons, then many of us are lucky to be alive and free. Just last week I walked into a house under construction in my neighborhood to check out the new floor plans. I didn’t even think to check for an armed gang charging down the street.

The McMichaels’ other possible argument is that the unspecified video footage from unspecified previous break-ins constituted sufficient “immediate knowledge” that a crime had been committed days or weeks ago, and that alleged older crime provided the McMichaels with “reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion that they were pursuing a fleeing felon.” 

Justifying armed pursuit on that basis would represent a remarkable application and extension of the law. It would empower vigilantism. It would empower citizens to independently investigate crimes and seek to arrest suspects on their own authority. 

McMichael didn’t merely report that Arbery ran by so that police could investigate. He didn’t even simply follow him at a safe distance to keep him in sight until the police arrived. He moved aggressively to arrest Arbery, and he did so based mainly on his subjective interpretation of surveillance videos of alleged previous incidents. 

Georgia case law indicates that past incidents may not justify present citizen pursuit. A 2000 Georgia Court of Appeals opinion states that “the term ‘within his immediate knowledge’ enables a private citizen to use any of his senses to obtain knowledge that an offense is being committed.” (Emphasis added.) 

There are other problems with his story. If you go back to the police report, McMichael not only failed to report that he was parked and waiting in the road for Arbery rather than pulling up alongside him, he claims they told Arbery, “Stop stop, we want to talk to you.” A conversation is not an arrest, and an unarmed citizen is under no legal obligation to stop and “talk” to other armed citizens who are blocking his path. 

Moreover, there is a vast difference between benign open carry and using a gun to threaten a person. It’s a crime under Georgia law to point a gun (loaded or unloaded) without legal justification. When Arbery was confronted by armed men who moved directly to block him from leaving, demanding to “talk,” then Arbery was entitled to defend himself. Georgia’s “stand your ground law” arguably benefits Arbery, not those who were attempting to falsely imprison him at gunpoint. 

That all strikes me as reasonable.

The McMichaels men were clearly out of line in organizing a mini posse to try to arrest a man for the offense of being nosy at a construction site. Whether they armed themselves with the intent to hunt down Arbery and kill him is unknowable but it strikes me as more likely they did so for self-protection. Either way, in French’s telling, they were not legally entitled to take the actions they took leading up to Arbery’s desperate lunge and subsequent homicide. The local prosecutor says otherwise but the arrest by Georgia state police would seem to indicate that French’s interpretation is correct.

Do I think a Georgia jury is going to send a retired police officer and his son to jail for this shooting under this particular set of circumstances? I do not. And that would be true if it was an unarmed white man.

French goes further and asserts, “When white men grab guns and mount up to pursue and seize an unarmed black man in the street, they stand in the shoes of lynch mobs past.” Now, as he says, “We will learn much more about this case before it’s over, and perhaps we’ll learn of exculpatory evidence not yet available in the public record.”

But, again, one of the suspects is a retired police detective. On the one hand, that means he ought to be thoroughly familiar with the laws to which French points. On the other, we presumably have a long track record. Has he used deadly force in the past? Does he have a record of complaints based on racial profiling? That would seem important to know before we claim this was racially motivated.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. sam says:

    “…it’s quite likely that chasing down a burglary suspect and then using deadly force when frightened is perfectly legal in Georgia…

    Should it be legal for ordinary citizens to take the law into their own hands, chase down a criminal suspect while heavily armed, and put themselves in a situation where deadly force is a strong possibility? No. But it almost certainly is.”

    My reading is that under Georgia law, a so-called citizen’s arrest is legally justified only if the “arrest” is made during the actual commission of a crime. Actual commission. No crime was being committed here by the young man. Nor have I read that a crime had been committed immediately before the incident. I’d think that as someone involved with law enforcement for many years, the father should have known the law.

    ReplyReply
    26
  2. MarkedMan says:

    this looks to me like ill-advised vigilantism gone wrong.

    Or in other words, murder.

    ReplyReply
    31
    2
  3. EddieInCA says:

    Dr. Joyner –

    With al due respect, your take is wrong. So, so wrong.

    David French did the deep dive you didn’t do. I’ve been following this case for about six weeks, since I have friends in SE Georgia.

    https://thedispatch.com/p/a-vigilante-killing-in-georgia

    Main points:
    1. This is certainly murder. There was no burglary. Georgia law says you have to “witness a crime in progress” to affect a citizen’s arrest.

    2. They had no right to questions, much less to attempt to stop any citizen.

    3. The video shows them laying in wait for him, completely contradicting their written statements.

    Oh, hell, read it all, then you might want to post an update:.

    Yours is a bad take.

    ReplyReply
    43
  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    James, had this been one of your daughters chased down and shot, you would have absolutely no problem calling it murder.

    ReplyReply
    22
    1
  5. DrDaveT says:

    Arbery’s family, outraged by weeks of local officials failing to file charges, have done a masterful job of portraying him as a clean-cut young man murdered for jogging.

    Non sequitur. With regard to whether it is appropriate to file charges, it shouldn’t matter if Arbery were a notorious pimp. The facts and the crime are the same regardless of the moral character of the victim.

    The shooters, a retired police officer and his 34-year-old son, claim that they were pursuing him because he matched the description of a man seen burglarizing

    James, have you ever in your life been totally convinced that the person you just saw run past you was some specific individual that you have never met, based on a verbal description? Can you even conceive of being certain in such a case — certain enough to initiate a confrontation, much less shoot him dead?

    @EddieInCA has it right.

    ReplyReply
    23
  6. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I’ve been to Brunswick a few times. Quaint–but a redneck town nevertheless. If you’re black and live in towns like these you’d better be armed because its clear you’re on your own for personal safety.

    Every local official that could have some influence has recused themselves so I think these guys are toast. I think the march through the neighborhood is brilliant. Marching is good in spots but these aren’t the times of MLK– these times are suited more for Huey Newton and Malcolm X approaches

    ReplyReply
    18
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And, yes, there’s a huge racial component to the issue. I have 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.

    Can I assume you mean “no evidence”? At which point I will point out that yes, yes you do have evidence. They armed themselves and then went hunting him. I own guns. You know what? I don’t take them in hand unless I intend to shoot, especially when I go hunting. If I just want to see the birds, or the squirrels, or the deer and commune with them?

    I leave the gun at home.

    ReplyReply
    18
  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @EddieinCA beat me to it in posting David French’s analysis of the killing, calling it a vigilante killing and pointing out that if walking on to a construction site was justification for a killing then he’d could be dead as well. French’s post is the best follow up on this incident that I’ve seen.

    Regarding the 3 calls that the Times reported, who made the calls and what was the outcome of the police followup, if any?

    ReplyReply
  9. CSK says:

    I’ve viewed the video several times, and it seems to me that Ahmaud Arbery, dressed in shorts and t-shirt, loping along in a steady rhythm, was clearly out for a run and not to commit a crime.

    ReplyReply
    18
  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’ve made clear my growing frustrations with your reflexive need to defend The System at all costs, but this is borderline pathological.

    The best time to delete this essay would have been before it was posted. The second best time to delete it is right now.

    ReplyReply
    26
  11. MarkedMan says:

    This is just another example of the depravity of the white gun culture. The need to arm themselves and act the big man. In their head they are all action heroes, but in reality they are angry adolescent boys with extremely dangerous weapons. Note that they don’t go after other people with guns. Instead they hunt down unarmed joggers, or scream spittle at government employees.

    ReplyReply
    21
    1
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: From your linked story:

    It’s also worth remembering that the long and evil history of American lynchings features countless examples of young black men hunted and killed by white gangs who claimed their victims had committed crimes. While we don’t yet know the full details about the McMichaels’ motives, their actions speak loudly enough. When white men grab guns and mount up to pursue and seize an unarmed black man in the street, they stand in the shoes of lynch mobs past.

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you’d have to be cuckoo to think it’s a nightingale.

    ReplyReply
    24
  13. MarkedMan says:

    James, at the risk of piling on, I agree with those above that this essay was wrong footed from the start. You seem to take it as a given that arming yourself to go hunting humans is acceptable and therefore we must look to the fine points of the law to determine whether their behavior was out of bounds. The reality is that these two are depraved and dangerous, and if Georgia’s law lets them off it makes that law egregiously wrong. It doesn’t make these two killers any less depraved.

    ReplyReply
    15
    1
  14. @James:

    I agree that the accused deserve a trial and should not be convicted via FB.

    Having said that, if this is a case of vigilantism gone wrong (and I think it is), I am not sure how that doesn’t still make it murder (although maybe that isn’t the correct legal term–maybe it is manslaughter under the law, but that is a different discussion).

    I also don’t see how this isn’t almost certainly driven by racism. It may not be these-guys-were-in-the-Klan racism, but rather “black people are probably criminals” racism (which is a kind of racism that continually gets a lot of black men killed). Indeed, the fact that they were almost certainly more likely to act as they did because it was a black man and not a white man means it was racially motivated, does it not?

    The video appears to be a case of them lying in wait, armed, to confront Arbery. They couldn’t wait for the police to show up? They really had to take this into their own hands? They appointed themselves judge, jury, and executioner. Over what? Some break-ins? Because he “trespassed” at a construction site?

    They don’t deny, as I understand it, that the basics of was what they were doing–the issue is whether it was self-defense.

    But we have two armed guys in a truck versus an unarmed jogger. Who created the danger? Who had the weapons? Who thought it was their right to interfere with a fellow citizen in this manner?

    If some random people put a gun in my face I might try and grab it out of their hands if it seemed my only option. But Arbery didn’t create the conditions that led to his death, the McMichaels did.

    So, sure innocent before the law until proven guilty, but I don’t think it is unreasonable at all to look at this event like the lynchings of old: a couple of white guys taking justice into their own hands because they thought a black guy had committed a crime.

    ReplyReply
    31
  15. @James:

    It’s possible here to both be outraged that a young black man is dead and think the white men who killed him aren’t guilty of murder.

    Are you trying to thread a legal needle here? They did kill him (I will grant that not all killings are murder), but they did arm themselves and confront him. And it wasn’t a random encounter–they purposefully put themselves in his path. And all of that lead to him being shot and killed.

    I will grant that if it is shown that Arbery was armed and pulled a weapon on them, it would change the legal aspects of this, but barring that, I am not sure what would. And, I would note, there is no evidence of that.

    ReplyReply
    18
  16. EddieInCA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Ironically, and sadly, the third suspect is the one that filmed the killing. Although it’s probably going to get him charged as an accessory. Without that video, there isn’t a charge, and the two guys get away with it 100%.

    Think about that, for a moment.

    ReplyReply
    20
  17. Monala says:

    Arbery was studying to become an electrician. It’s not very surprising why he might have been interested in a house under construction.

    ReplyReply
    11
  18. James Joyner says:

    @sam: @EddieInCA: I’ve updated the post to reflect French’s insights.

    @Michael Reynolds: But that’s like asking Dukakis if he would support the death penalty for someone raping his wife. Sure! But the horrendous grief of the victims doesn’t change the presumption of innocence.

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes, I moved that paragraph and made an editing error in making it fit there. No, I wouldn’t have done any of this. That doesn’t make them murderers, or even racists.

    @OzarkHillbilly: If I was going to chase down someone I thought was a criminal—and might have stolen my 9mm—I would do so armed. But I would just call the police and not leave my gun in the damn vehicle to begin with.

    @Sleeping Dog: I agree that the identity of the callers would be useful information.

    @Stormy Dragon: The only System I’m defending here is the presumption of innocence before the facts are in. The last bit of the post is in fact a call for changing the part of the system that effectively incentivizes vigilantism and makes these situations possible.

    ReplyReply
    2
    6
  19. Gustopher says:

    My strong guess, based on the cursory evidence I’ve seen, is that Arbery was indeed an innocent man killed for no good reason. But, absent strong evidence to the contrary, this looks to me like ill-advised vigilantism gone wrong.

    I’m oddly curious about what well-advised vigilantism done right would look like.

    ReplyReply
    13
  20. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: We’re basically in agreement.

    I acknowledge in the original post “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.”

    I’m merely pushing back against the notion that, because they were white and the victim was black, that they were out to kill him. There’s no evidence of which I’m aware to lead to that conclusion.

    And, yes, I think we’re looking at a case of manslaughter here. As we’ve both said, the shooters needlessly created a situation that led to tragedy. But there’s no evidence of murderous intent. They cornered the man and were seemingly trying to arrest him. They had no right to do that and the man, quite understandably, tried to take the shooter’s gun away from him. But I’m not sure panicked shooting in that circumstance should be charged as “murder.”

    ReplyReply
    1
    9
  21. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m oddly curious about what well-advised vigilantism done right would look like.

    If they had caught him in the commission of a violent crime, I could justify chasing him down. Hell, I’ve chased someone down when I saw them stealing a case of beer from a convenience store. (That was probably stupid, in that I was unarmed and didn’t know they were but, hey, instinct.) But an armed chase over someone who, at worst, might have been casing a construction site is nuts.

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  22. Gustopher says:

    The actions of local law enforcement were, to say the least, not reassuring. Given both conflicts of interests in a small town, where prosecutors had a relationship with a retired cop, it’s somewhat understandable.

    Where there are conflicts of interest, the local law enforcement can refer the case to the state police. One might even say that they are morally and likely legally obligated to.

    We will probably never get to the point where we don’t have idiot white wannabe heroes who think every black male “matches a description”, but we can get to the point where we properly investigate and prosecute them when they kill people.

    And maybe we can get there without requiring the family of the victim to basically run a national social media campaign.

    ReplyReply
    10
  23. Monala says:

    This case made me recall something that happened to me about 20 years ago. I was driving home after a crappy day and was in a very bad mood. I came to a 4-way stop sign intersection, and could go no farther, because a kid of about 12 was riding a bike in circles in the middle of the intersection and popping wheelies. When I honked, he laughed, gave me the finger, and kept doing what he was doing.

    This went on for a while — 5 or 10 minutes maybe? Meanwhile, cars were piling up, all of us honking, and the kid continued to laugh and ride. At some point I became completely fed up, and decided to take my foot off the brake and allow my car to roll into the intersection. My plan was to get close to the kid and then brake again, hoping to scare him.

    It was unnecessary; at the same time I started my plan, a couple of big guys got out of their cars and started walking toward the kid, and he took off.

    When I recounted this story to a lawyer friend, she said it was a good thing no police were present, because I could have been arrested for assault. “Why?” I asked. “I didn’t hit him, nor did I intend to hit him. I just wanted to scare him.”

    “You approached him in a threatening manner with a deadly weapon, your car. That’s assault! What if for whatever reason you weren’t able to break in time?”

    I learned my lesson about taking the law into my hands that day.

    ReplyReply
    11
  24. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I will grant that if it is shown that Arbery was armed and pulled a weapon on them, it would change the legal aspects of this

    How? This would be an obvious case of self-defense by Arbery. He was confronted by two armed men with no official standing, who then shot him when he did not do what they told him to do. There is only one aggressor here, and any weapon Arbery might hypothetically have employed would have been covered by his right to defend himself. (If he were white.)

    ReplyReply
    19
  25. @James:

    Do I think a Georgia jury is going to send a retired police officer and his son to jail for this shooting under this particular set of circumstances? I do not. And that would be true if it was an unarmed white man.

    You may be correct as to this case, depending on the jury. I am less certain if this had been a white male, however.

    That would seem important to know before we claim this was racially motivated.

    I’ve got to admit that it is really hard not to see this as racially motivated. Is it possible that race was not a factor? Perhaps. But what is the reasonable probability that it wasn’t?

    ReplyReply
    8
    1
  26. drj says:

    Debating whether the McMichaels are guilty is missing the forest for the trees.

    Let’s be really generous and say there is a 10% chance that Arbery’s killing was justified.

    But Arbery wasn’t the first unarmed black man to die in similar circumstances. Let’s say there were ten such cases in the last decade – again, very, very generous.

    The chance that all ten killings were justified is one in 10,000,000,000. So there should be at least a couple of white perpetrators in jail, no? Except that they aren’t.

    So something is clearly very wrong.

    But by looking at all these cases in isolation, that unpleasant truth is very conveniently obscured. And as a result, we can wash our hands off the whole sordid mess:

    It’s possible here to both be outraged that a young black man is dead and think the white men who killed him aren’t guilty of murder. And, indeed, that’s where I am given the limited information at my disposal.

    This isn’t a court of law where we must (for obvious reasons) consider the facts of a case in isolation. That “limited information” is a red herring.

    ReplyReply
    15
    1
  27. Monala says:

    Also in Georgia, Shannon Brown, a former Laker, was arrested this week after firing warning shots at a white couple who entered his home uninvited.

    ReplyReply
    21
  28. wr says:

    “Further, they have been denied bail despite, as best I can tell, having been model citizens before this incident and demonstrating no flight risk.”

    I know there’s been a bit of a pile-on here and I’m late to this party, but this sentence is screamingly horrific:

    It doesn’t matter if they’ve been “model citizens” until the moment they hunted down and killed an innocent man for the crime of being black. Once they pulled that trigger, they are no longer “model citizens” and should not be treated as such.

    ReplyReply
    22
  29. gVOR08 says:

    Long ago and far away in a Lutheran confirmation class I was taught that “love thy neighbor” included putting the most charitable construction on what they do. But I agree with @EddieInCA:, in your desire to be reasonable you’ve taken that charity too far. With the right prosecutor, the right lawyers, and the right jury they may get away this. But it was murder.

    You’re right that having been a cop for years should mean the guy was familiar with the law. Being a cop in small town GA probably just means he was accustomed to the idea of abusing black people.

    Being unfamiliar with the slab and block construction almost universal in FL, I occasionally walk through a house under construction to see what’s behind my own walls. But I’m so whitebread I get to feel safe doing it.

    ReplyReply
    12
  30. @DrDaveT:

    How? This would be an obvious case of self-defense by Arbery. He was confronted by two armed men with no official standing, who then shot him when he did not do what they told him to do. There is only one aggressor here, and any weapon Arbery might hypothetically have employed would have been covered by his right to defend himself. (If he were white.)

    If he was running down the street, brandishing a weapon, it would change the conversation. That is not to say that the McMichaels would have been justified in their actions.

    You have to admit that if he had had a gun it would have made it easier for them to claim self-defense. I am not saying that makes their actions right, I am just saying it creates a different conversation.

    Please see my other comments and put this one in context and try to read what you have quoted from me charitably and in the spirit of my clear position. I clearly think that the McMichaels are in the wrong and deserve criminal punishment.

    ReplyReply
    2
    2
  31. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    The only System I’m defending here is the presumption of innocence before the facts are in.

    That’s a straw man. No one is arguing that they shouldn’t get a fair trial. You are going far beyond that though, asking people in general to reserve judgement on these killers. There is no obligation to do so and no reason to do so. Based on the best possible interpretation of there actions, they still armed themselves to go human hunting. They still decided to violently take the law into their own hands. They still, without doubt, showed their character. As did the prosecutors who tried to help them get away with it.

    ReplyReply
    17
  32. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    But the horrendous grief of the victims doesn’t change the presumption of innocence.

    You say that as if there were some possible set of facts in this case that would constitute “innocence”. You still haven’t addressed the problem of identification; “matched a description” cannot innocently be used as a basis for deadly force.

    On the other hand, you now seem to be saying “Yes, they ambushed him, no, they had no legal right to do so, yes they came prepared with deadly force, yes, they used deadly force without any legal right to do so, but that’s not murder murder.” IANAL, but my understanding is that in nearly all states it is murder if you kill someone in the course of committing a felony. Are you going to now argue that they weren’t committing a felony, even before shooting Arbery?

    ReplyReply
    12
  33. @James Joyner:

    I’m merely pushing back against the notion that, because they were white and the victim was black, that they were out to kill him. There’s no evidence of which I’m aware to lead to that conclusion.

    I am far less inclined to benefit of the doubt here. While I do not think they planned to kill him, the fact that they were willing to confront him with a firearm suggests that they knew shooting him was a possibility (and shooting someone means killing them is a possible outcome).

    ReplyReply
    15
  34. Mister Bluster says:

    @James Joyner:..I’ve chased someone down when I saw them stealing a case of beer from a convenience store.

    Did you catch them?

    ReplyReply
  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You have to admit that if he had had a gun it would have made it easier for them to claim self-defense.

    Only in that it would have permitted them to tell a different and more convincing lie, to the effect that Arbery was the original assailant.

    Please see my other comments and put this one in context and try to read what you have quoted from me charitably and in the spirit of my clear position.

    I am only pointing out that even the slim reed you proposed would not hold any weight. I am not arguing at you or against your overall position, and I applaud you for trying to help James see this case more clearly.

    ReplyReply
    10
  36. Gustopher says:

    @wr:

    I know there’s been a bit of a pile-on here and I’m late to this party, but this sentence is screamingly horrific:

    Is it really a pile on if each person finds something new and offensively wrong in what James wrote? 😉

    (Sorry, James, this is really one of your worst “utterly ignoring all context around an event, while simultaneously being resigned to that context never changing and ultimately adding a bit of boys-will-be-boys” posts. It’s kind of impressive.)

    ReplyReply
    17
  37. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan:

    That’s a straw man. No one is arguing that they shouldn’t get a fair trial.

    I don’t know, I think they match a description and there are some serious crimes in the area… we could round up a couple of people with their guns, and chase them down with a pickup truck. What happens after that… who can say?

    ReplyReply
    11
  38. NBH says:

    @James Joyner:

    And, yes, I think we’re looking at a case of manslaughter here. As we’ve both said, the shooters needlessly created a situation that led to tragedy. But there’s no evidence of murderous intent.

    Guess what, no murderous intent is necessary here in Georgia if a person causes the death of another while in the process of committing a felony. The prosecutor won’t have to do anything like prove malicious fore-thought. IANAL but I expect they’ll use something like aggravated assault for their brandishing and pointing weapons at him and/or attempted kidnapping for their illegal attempt to detain him.
    Ahmaud had full rights to self-defense from the felonious attack on him by the racist trash. Then their killing of Ahmaud becomes murder by default. And I hope the prosecutors don’t let these scumbags weasel down to a manslaughter plea. Society needs to be protected from this scum for a long long time.

    ReplyReply
    16
  39. Modulo Myself says:

    In October, a caller reported that a man had been seen on a camera system for a property that was being built in the neighborhood. In November, the same caller again reported something similar.

    On Feb. 11, another call was made to 911 by someone who said he had caught a man trespassing in a house. The caller, who said he had not seen the man before, had “just chased him” and was sitting outside the house, waiting for police to respond, in a red Ford 150 pickup, the same kind of truck that Travis McMichael reported a weapon stolen from weeks earlier.

    Yeah, these are some pretty serious crimes. I mean, I totally believe that a gun went missing from some dipshit’s truck. It sounds like Gotham City down there. It’s not that white racism has created a world where dummies sit around and long to take out their vengeance on invisible criminals. These people don’t sound like liars and frauds who have nothing else except racism in their lives. Not at all. And I bet these two Klansmen weren’t thrilled to find a black guy running through their neighborhood. No, they were suffering through the crime wave, like any good upstanding ciizens.

    ReplyReply
    10
  40. mattbernius says:

    Couple thoughts:
    @DrDaveT:

    Non sequitur. With regard to whether it is appropriate to file charges, it shouldn’t matter if Arbery were a notorious pimp. The facts and the crime are the same regardless of the moral character of the victim.

    Thank you for this as you beat me to it. This is a huge problem with our culture’s inherently moralistic way of thinking about crime and race. There have already been efforts among some to paint Arbery as “a bad guy” and therefore somehow deserving to be killed. We saw similar things go on with Botham Jean in TX and Trevon Martin in FL (among others). This may happen in cases of white victims in similar circumstances, but it’s especially common with people of color.

    Ultimately only the circumstances of the incident should matter.

    Which gets to:
    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’ve got to admit that it is really hard not to see this as racially motivated. Is it possible that race was not a factor? Perhaps. But what is the reasonable probability that it wasn’t?

    If Arbery had been a white jogger he would not have been seen as a criminal. Period. Did they intend to go out a kill a black man? Hopefully not. But his race is why this started in the first place and anyone twisting themselves to deny that is just perpetuating structural racism.

    You may be correct as to this case, depending on the jury. I am less certain if this had been a white male, however.

    Agreed. Juries tend to give a lot of leeway to former Law Enforcement Officers. But I agree that if this had been a fresh-faced young 20 something white male, the average GA jury would give this a harsher look.

    As for the question about the felony murder charge, it is pretty common in GA and other states to charge at that level in other “gone wrong” situations — i.e. the robbery gone wrong. “Prior intent” is no longer part of the statute the last time I checked. So I don’t necessarily see this as an overcharging.

    Also, I am very interested to see what happens to the third party in this case — the family friend who participated in chasing Arbery and filmed the incident. In normal GA circumstances (i.e. he was a young black man indirectly involved in a “gone wrong” scenario), he would be charged with felony murder as well as an accessory (even if he didn’t directly pull the trigger). While I am morally opposed to this type of law for a variety of reasons, I would prefer to see that it is equally applied while it’s still on the books (especially since that might actually lead to legislative change),. If it isn’t then it’s a reminder of how unequally our laws are applied.

    ReplyReply
    12
  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: If I was going to chase down someone I thought was a criminal—and might be armed with a gun, I would not do so because it is stupid. I know I would not do so because I found myself in that exact position. Twice in fact. Once when somebody had broken into my basement, and the 2nd time when someone was “trying” to steal my truck. Neither time did I grab my gun and the time with my truck I told my wife to call the cops and confronted the guy. I kept him busy (he told me he had a gun) until the cops showed up and I let them deal with him.

    That’s what a law abiding citizen does, they do not take the law into their own hands.

    ReplyReply
    14
  42. Modulo Myself says:

    Just googled a picture of these two goons. My god–it’s like an argument for forced sterilization. Basically, any white cop in the south with a son who is not a cop and who looks like that has a kid who is too much of a bully even for the police.

    ReplyReply
  43. mattbernius says:

    But, again, one of the suspects is a retired police detective. On the one hand, that means he ought to be thoroughly familiar with the laws to which French points. On the other, we presumably have a long track record. Has he used deadly force in the past? Does he have a record of complaints based on racial profiling? That would seem important to know before we claim this was racially motivated.

    This paragraph, James–and the deep level of deference it carries for assuming that a law enforcement officer is well trained, moral and color-blind–is a perfect example of why police officers literally can getaway with murder.

    Also baked into it is an pretty large assumption that things like “racial profiling” complaints or “excessive use of force” complaints will be (1) reported when they happen and (2) be accurately recorded onto said individual’s record — especially in a small Georgia Community.

    I would recommend watching (or reading) “Just Mercy” for a timely reminder of the realities of relationships between police and sheriff forces and the communities they are “protecting.” Not to mention Prosecutors and elected Judges as well.

    ReplyReply
    14
  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Monala: Good thing he didn’t “stand his ground and shoot them”. He’d be going to prison for a very long time.

    ReplyReply
  45. mattbernius says:

    One last thing:

    Further, they have been denied bail despite, as best I can tell, having been model citizens before this incident and demonstrating no flight risk.

    This has to be filed under: people suddenly discover how people of color are treated in similar circumstances and are surprised that our criminal justice system works this way.

    BTW, on a different note, while I agree with David French on very few major topics, I have to saw that his evolution on criminal justice (and coming to see the inherent structural racism within our current system) has been a great transformation to watch. I suspect a lot of that, based on his wife’s writings, is in part due to the fact they adopted an African American daughter and are seeing first hand the different in her treatment when they are not immediately next to her.

    ReplyReply
    17
  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: If he was running down the street, brandishing a weapon, it would change the conversation.

    I see white people “brandishing weapons” in stores around here all the time. In fact, it’s perfectly legal. For white people anyway.

    ReplyReply
    12
  47. @Modulo Myself:

    Yeah, these are some pretty serious crimes. I mean, I totally believe that a gun went missing from some dipshit’s truck. It sounds like Gotham City down there.

    Indeed. Further, I would be curious if the truck was broken into physically, or if the fellow left it unlocked. In recent years there have been a handful of break-ins into vehicles in my neighborhood, including one in which a gun was stolen out of a vehicle. I am fairly certain that in all these cases the vehicles were unlocked–the thieves simply going around trying to open cars and getting lucky

    First, I realize this is still a crime, but when I read on local FB groups or the Nextdoor apps or whatever my neighbors freaking out over “break-ins” you would think that we were suffering from a rash of home invasions or, at a minimum, smash-and-grabs. Lock your car doors, for crying out loud,

    Second, it is highly irresponsible, in my opinion, to leave a firearm in a vehicle, locked or not. Leaving it in an unlocked car is negligent, IMHO.

    So, I have to wonder as to the nature of these “break-ins” as well as the whole construction site visits (who hasn’t gone to a house under construction to look around?).

    ReplyReply
  48. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I see white people “brandishing weapons” in stores around here all the time. In fact, it’s perfectly legal. For white people anyway.

    My point is simply this: if he had had a gun, it would have given the McMichaels more cover. Do you disagree?

    ReplyReply
  49. @mattbernius:

    If Arbery had been a white jogger he would not have been seen as a criminal. Period. Did they intend to go out a kill a black man? Hopefully not. But his race is why this started in the first place and anyone twisting themselves to deny that is just perpetuating structural racism.

    Agreed.

    ReplyReply
  50. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    Sorry, James, this is really one of your worst “utterly ignoring all context around an event, while simultaneously being resigned to that context never changing and ultimately adding a bit of boys-will-be-boys” posts. It’s kind of impressive.

    The detached “After Gretzky, Whither Hockey?” tone doesn’t help either.

    ReplyReply
  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Dammit, in editing I dropped the part about the guy in the truck appearing to be drunk when I confronted him. Meant to stick it back in. My bad.

    ReplyReply
  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: My point is simply this: if he had had a gun, it would have given the McMichaels more cover. Do you disagree?

    Absolutely not, I was using the point you were making to emphasize a slightly different point, which now that I think about it, maybe was the point you were making? Namely, how inherently racist our society is, which shows in how it’s laws are written and enforced.

    If the races of the individuals in this case were reversed I know the LEOs would have reacted entirely differently.

    ReplyReply
  53. Sigh. says:

    Congrats, James, on your toadiest take to date.

    ReplyReply
  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    A little story on otherness and race:

    As I do from time to time I’ve wandered into a rabbit hole, this time pre-Columbian history, Aztecs and Incas and Spaniards, oh my! I should not have a dog in that fight. But the Aztecs were fucking monsters – imperialists who among other charming habits, had a tendency eat the conquered. Make no mistake: they needed killin’. Imperialism bad, but hey, fuck these heart-excavating creeps.

    Then Cortés decides to convince Montezuma by seizing fourteen of his friends and relatives and forcing Montezuma to watch as the fourteen were burned alive. And I found myself at that point looking for a ‘yes, but…’ There were no, ‘yes, buts…’ for the Aztecs. Why was I looking for an excuse for the Spaniards? I mean, at roughly the same time as Spaniards were massacring the Mexica, they were torturing ‘my people,’ the Jews.

    It came down to familiarity and connection. I don’t know any Aztecs. I’ve known some Spaniards. Aztecs are Indians in effect, Spaniards are white folk. Nothing that I can think of in my life today is linked to the Aztecs, whereas I’ve visited Spain several times and it remains on the list of places I may retire to if I ever retire. I’ve seen where Spanish civilization eventually got to, and the Aztecs didn’t really have that opportunity to evolve.

    So I found myself leaning on the clear evidence. Pour oil on an Aztec noble’s feet, set them on fire and torture him for no reason but greed for gold? Barricade thousands of unarmed Aztecs in a courtyard then spend hours methodically butchering them? Bad, sure, but, but, but whatabout?

    The term racist is imprecise. Am I an anti-Aztec racist? No. But does their otherness distort my judgment? Yep. Sure does. This murder might not be what we would define as racist in intent, but if in your mind black means a high probability of criminality, that’s really all it takes for some hothead to decide to pull a trigger. The killer didn’t need to hate black people, he just needed them to be other.

    ReplyReply
  55. wr says:

    @mattbernius: “and coming to see the inherent structural racism within our current system”

    With no disrespect intended towards your intelligent post, I have to say I can’t read the phrase “inherent structural” anything without hearing Dennis the Peasant:

    “Come and see the violence inherent in the system.”

    Although I must also say I’ve come to disagree with Dennis on one point — about now, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords actually seems like a better system of government than one involving our electoral college.

    ReplyReply
    10
  56. TastyBits says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Huey Newton and Malcolm X approaches

    I assume you mean pre-Mecca Brother Malcolm. In any case, their approaches were different.

    For any black man in America, I recommend Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. The white man will never love the black man as Minister Farrakhan loves him, and no black man should ever expect a white man to consider him the equal of a white man.

    (If you are a black man, be careful out there, and if you are JB, it is an honor. I am just a cynical, old, white guy.)

    @James Joyner:
    I realize that you think you have progressed beyond the average white man’s attitudes toward the black man, but honestly, you are an apologist for the racial attitude of the white man. It is amusing that other white men are berating you for the sin of not caring enough about the black man. In reality, no white man would ever trade places with any black man.

    ReplyReply
    3
    3
  57. SKI says:

    Horrifically bad take, James. Tone-deaf and almost willfully obtuse. That you posted this in acknowledgement of the massive uproar all over social media and the news but only read a single article before doing so is mind-boggling.

    @James Joyner:

    We’re basically in agreement.

    No. No you aren’t. Steve acknowledged reality. You ignored it. He noted that this was the killing of an innocent individual based on their race. You claim that “we can’t know” Bullshit. We know.

    We know that the doubt you are extending to these killers wouldn’t have been extended to the victim and wasn’t. We know that our “justice system” is anything but just or racially blind. That *you* never seem to use that knowledge in your musings over fairness is repetitively clear.

    BTW, for all your “it is inconclusive” there are now reports that the cops at the scene were instructed not to arrest, after they said they were going to, by the DA’s office the father used to work for.

    Commissioner Peter Murphy, who also said he spoke directly to Glynn County police about the incident, said officers at the scene concluded they had probable cause to make arrests and contacted Johnson’s office to inform the prosecutor of their decision.

    “They were told not to make the arrest,” Murphy said.

    ReplyReply
    15
    1
  58. SKI says:

    And, like it or not—and I don’t—it’s quite likely that chasing down a burglary suspect and then using deadly force when frightened is perfectly legal in Georgia.

    It is NOT “legal” in terms of what the statutes say. You can’t make a citizen’s arrest unless you witnessed the actual crime.

    It is “legal” in terms of what Georgia society has allowed when the suspect isn’t white.

    ReplyReply
  59. mattbernius says:

    @SKI:
    Thank you for posting that account of the Prosecutor’s apparent intervention in the initial arrest. I couldn’t find that earlier.

    Btw, this is why it is critical to vote in county elections folks. Sheriff’s, Prosecutors, and Judges all have a profound effect on Criminal Justice. Or if all of those Prosecutors have arguably the most discretion in the system and a significant amount of deference is paid to them (provided they are not too progressive, of course).

    ReplyReply
  60. CSK says:

    @mattbernius:
    William “Roddie” Bryan, who took the video, is being investigated. He claims he was only a witness, and that he handed the video to the police when they arrived.

    ReplyReply
  61. Modulo Myself says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Modern racism is pretty specific. It’s not about crossing an ocean and being shocked at difference. It’s about living next to identical humans and desperately needing to turn them into others. Look at Jewish Germans–they were as German as could be. They died for the Reich in WWI, loved Wagner and German culture, and what were they? Vermin, non-Germans, nothing but insects.

    Same goes with people of color in America. This guy was in jogging gear and yet he’s also part of a crime wave that’s traumatizing this community. There’s the real shock of the Other and then the old lady losing her shit at how unseemly her neighbor’s garden. White people like this are the little old ladies of America.

    ReplyReply
  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    @TastyBits:

    It is amusing that other white men are berating you for the sin of not caring enough about the black man. In reality, no white man would ever trade places with any black man.

    Yes, and a great many black men would happily trade places with whites, because that question is about economic and societal advantages, not caring or equality. And by what logic should we sneer at white people demanding more empathy from their fellow white people?

    Black separatism and hostility toward whites (while perfectly understandable and damned near unavoidable) is one of the stupidest fucking ideas in political history. 13% of the population, heavily concentrated but never in sufficient numbers to constitute a majority, wields zero power without white allies beyond a few cities. There is not a single state that is majority black, there are 48 states (IIRC) that are majority white, and at least a dozen where the number of black voters is insignificant.

    Blacks, Latinos, gays, trans and Jews are groups utterly dependent on out-group allies for any shot at survival, let alone progress.

    ReplyReply
  63. SKI says:

    @CSK: He better hope he did.

    GA is an anomaly among states in that is considers “accessory after the fact” to be murder. Every other jurisdiction requires either participation during the killing or helping before the act. (This is what got Ray Lewis charged with “murder” – he threw away a friend’s bloody jacket afterwards in a panic despite not being involved in the actual fight – per the prosecutor).

    ReplyReply
  64. Monala says:

    @Modulo Myself: the stories have already begun about how Arbery was arrested for having a gun at school in high school, and was arrested for shoplifting several years back. I wouldn’t be surprised if the younger McMichaels had similar incidents in his past but Daddy’s connections made them “go away” (and thus allowing James to call them “model citizens).

    The #CrimingWhileWhite hashtag on Twitter several years ago explored this phenomenon, of how often white people get away with things that black people do not.

    ReplyReply
  65. Crusty Dem says:

    “Seemingly”?? I don’t think there’s any need/reason to include that word in the subheadline.

    ReplyReply
  66. SKI says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    “Seemingly”?? I don’t think there’s any need/reason to include that word in the subheadline.

    Particularly as there was no actual crime for him to be guilty of.

    Nothing happened that day other than a black man jogging in their neighborhood.

    ReplyReply
  67. mattbernius says:

    @SKI:

    It is NOT “legal” in terms of what the statutes say. You can’t make a citizen’s arrest unless you witnessed the actual crime.

    Let us be blunt, to be black (or brown) in the US is to know that, especially if you are a younger person, you will always be considered a probable criminal (enough to be detained or arrested) for no other reason than you are black or brown.

    Put a different way, lets say it had been a young white male who had been reportedly involved in the past incidents. Does anyone want to state that they believe this pair would have chased down and attempted to citizen arrest every young white male they saw out jogging?

    And that’s the key thing — if you are a 20 something white male you don’t have to regularly worry that you’re going to be arrested at any point for being a young white male. And you definitely don’t worry that (a) someone will kill you for jogging or (b) that if that happens, they’ll get away with it.

    All of my coworkers of color have been really torn up over this one, and it’s incredibly difficult to watch.

    @CSK:
    I had seen your post about that a day or two ago. And I should have mentioned that more explicitly. BTW, it’s worth noting that the police and prosecutors apparently had this video from the start, but it was only it’s public leaking that created any necessary political pressure to force outside evaluation.

    ReplyReply
  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Fortunately, redneck bigots are still so used to getting away with this stuff that they haven’t graduated into the “Moriarty, the Napoleon of Crime” category. They were probably seeing the film as either exculpatory or of value as a souvenir. Maybe both.

    ReplyReply
  69. Bill says:

    Here’s additional video footage

    GBI reviewing additional video footage in Ahmaud Arbery case

    Time to go back to watching The Ox Bow Incident

    ReplyReply
  70. mattbernius says:

    @Monala:

    the stories have already begun about how Arbrey was arrested for having a gun at school in high school, and was arrested for shoplifting several years back.

    There is a significant portion of our population that needs to do this in order to make sure that they don’t have to confront the inherent structural racism of our systems. Otherwise they would have to do something about it (or admit they don’t have a problem with the disproportionate toll our system takes on members of minority groups).

    After all, they’re good people so there’s no way that they could be involved in supporting a system that actively oppresses minorities.

    ReplyReply
  71. Argon says:

    When you are not a cop and you initiate a confrontation while carrying a gun and then an unarmed person gets shot, 99+% of the time the incident was rooted in your poor initial judgement. Want to stop or inhibit crime? Carry a good camera instead.

    ReplyReply
  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Indeed. I often find myself wondering when the

    The only System I’m defending here is the presumption of innocence before the facts are in.

    argument is made, it seems to always be in defense of some cracker who shot a person of color and never the other way around. (And please feel free do disabuse me of my notion if you can show that I’m wrong. I would love to be wrong on this notion.)

    ReplyReply
  73. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    They were probably seeing the film as either exculpatory or of value as a souvenir.

    White Southern culture has a history of vilest depravity, including enterprising photographers who were on hand when the “good townspeople” would leave their churches of a Sunday, march to the local jail which had been left open and abandoned by the police, drag some poor black man to the town square, to be tortured and eventually slowly killed for the delight of the white Christian community. What was the photographer for? To take pictures of people posing with the horribly mutilated body, later to be turned into postcards. (If you weren’t aware of this practice google “lynching postcards”)

    So yeah, I vote “souvenir “.

    ReplyReply
    11
  74. CSK says:

    @mattbernius:
    The fact that the authorities had the video and seem to have sat on it jibes with the fact that the cops were told not to arrest McMichaels pere et fils, doesn’t it.

    ReplyReply
  75. HelloWorld! says:

    Legality of citizens arrest or not…on what grounds COULD a citizens arrest have been valid at all? White Ga men prejudge black men. Its who they are.

    ReplyReply
  76. Kathy says:

    This is highly reminiscent of the Trayvon Martin case: people making a dangerous situation out of a non-event, and getting a black man killed in the process.

    A retired cop has no legal authority, nor any duty to act. This idiot should have called 911 and let the police handle the matter.

    ReplyReply
  77. TastyBits says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Your empathy and your demanding more empathy from other white men is for your benefit not the benefit of the black man.

    Minister Farrakhan does not simply want a separate state/nation for black people similar to the reservations of the Native Americans. He wants black people to be self-sufficient not reliant upon the hand-outs of white people. He encourages agricultural and mechanical education in addition to medical and legal education.

    Minority concentration is the result of white people moving out when black people move in. When white people are not uncomfortable being the minority, you may be able to convince me that there is some chance things might change. Until then, convince Minister Farrakhan that you love black people more than him, and I will concede.

    In any case, I am not the spokesperson for black people, and while I have empathy for their situation, my empathy is not worth a “warm bucket of piss”. The majority of black people are “f*cked”, and it is going to take more than a group of white people to convince me otherwise.

    ReplyReply
    1
    6
  78. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: the guy filming it likely did it for a souvenir. The lawyer who released it thought it would clear the McMichaels. After all, he said that if Arbery had just frozen in place, he wouldn’t have been shot.

    link

    ReplyReply
  79. Stormy Dragon says:

    @TastyBits:

    Minister Farrakhan does not simply want a separate state/nation for black people similar to the reservations of the Native Americans. He wants black people to be self-sufficient not reliant upon the hand-outs of white people. He encourages agricultural and mechanical education in addition to medical and legal education.

    Cool story. What does Liborio Salvatore Bellomo want?

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  80. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: They were probably planning to put it on YouTube along with a lot of commentary about how the brave, law-abiding gun-toting good ol’ boys were protecting Ammurika from the evil criminal….

    Just because you’ve got a gun in your hand doesn’t mean you have the right to go around and be a vigilante. That Georgia statute? You have to see the crime when it is actually being committed. It’s the whole “hot pursuit” idea. It doesn’t mean you have the right to chase down and shoot someone of another race simply because he “might have been” the suspect for a theft in the neighbourhood. Haven’t any of these clowns heard of the term “due process”?

    ReplyReply
  81. TastyBits says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So, Minister Farrakhan is a crime boss, now. I guess that makes the NOI just a gang.

    If you have a problem with either, you should take it up with them, or not. You would not want to wind up “sleeping with the fishes”.

    ReplyReply
  82. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Stories like this remind me of a guy I once worked with who was absolutely desperate to join a police force, and no police force in the area (even the campus cops) would have him because he kept flunking all the psychological fitness tests. Somehow he had legally acquired a gun license and several firearms–hard to do in my state, so there must have been some shenanigans involved.

    Outside of his rabid desire to be a cop, he had two other wishes: a) to shoot someone who was, in his view, committing a crime and thereby become a hero, and b) to get a woman to go to bed with him.

    Far as I know, he never succeeded in doing either in the time I knew him.

    ReplyReply
  83. EddieInCA says:

    Dr. Joyner.

    https://www.mediaite.com/news/charges-filed-after-armed-all-white-mob-led-by-off-duty-deputy-terrorized-black-family-in-north-carolina/

    An incident in which an armed all-white mob “terrorized” a black teenager and his family has resulted in criminal charges against the off-duty sheriff’s deputy who led the group, as well as one other man.

    #anotherdaybeingblackinthesouth.

    ReplyReply
    7
    1
  84. mattbernius says:

    @EddieInCA:

    #anotherdaybeingblackintheUS

    Fixed that for you. While we often specifically call it the South for it’s well established history, the fact is that type of thing happens throughout the country.

    Seeing this as a “Southern problem” versus a nation wide issue is a mistake.

    ReplyReply
  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy:

    This idiot should have called 911 and let the police handle the matter.

    Yeah, but you can’t be sure that the police will respond to a call asking to investigate a black jogger who might be the same guy who was creeping around a building site. Not even in GA.

    ReplyReply
  86. Monala says:

    @CSK: IIRC, George Zimmerman wanted to be a cop, but kept failing the psych portion.

    ReplyReply
  87. EddieInCA says:

    @mattbernius:

    Fair enough. Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  88. Stormy Dragon says:

    @TastyBits:

    If you have a problem with either, you should take it up with them, or not.

    Oh, I’m afraid that would completely wreck the test procedure. You see, I’m part of an experiment by Yakub to see how irritating exposure to devil nature over the internet is.

    To that end, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not irritating at all and 10 being the most irritating thing ever, exactly how irritating did you find that interaction?

    And please, be honest; after all, this is for science!

    ReplyReply
  89. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:
    I tend to think of all racism, racialism, xenophobia, gay hatred, etc… as primarily intellectual failures. The claims of the bigots are all easily-refutable and impossible to defend rationally. No one with any intellectual rigor can believe these things. But prejudice sneaks through, even when you think you’ve routed it all out.

    The Aztecs interest me because it is a clear case of Evil A confronting Evil B. And because they are frozen in time, judged for 16th century practices by 21st century standards, whereas the Spaniards – Inquisition, forced conversion, slavery, mass murder – get the benefit of the next 500 years of evolution to become a member in good standing of the liberal world order.

    ReplyReply
  90. TastyBits says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I am not black, not a member of the NOI, and not Muslim. It is not my place to denigrate anybody’s religious beliefs. Are the Reverends MLK, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton to be disregarded because according to their religion God created man from dirt and woman from the rib of this clump of dirt?

    If you have a problem with the NOI’s religious belief’s, take it up with them, or if you have a problem with any other religion, take it up with those leaders & followers. I suspect that you do not have equal disregard for all religions or their adherents. Furthermore, I fail to understand how denigrating the beliefs of Minister Farrakhan or the NOI is beneficial to any black man, but perhaps, the benefit of the black man is not your goal.

    Again, I am not the black spokesperson, but I would advise any black man to be wary of a white man’s advice. Since I am white, that advice is suspect.

    (And, I know about the UFOs.)

    ReplyReply
    1
    4
  91. Michael Reynolds says:

    @TastyBits:
    Your empathy and your demanding more empathy from other white men is for your benefit not the benefit of the black man.

    Actually, from my POV it is simply rational and decent, not a matter of benefit except insofar as good intellectual hygiene is a benefit to me.

    But politics – which was the point of my comment – isn’t about whose fault it is that AA’s got screwed, it’s about power. Black people want certain things from government and society at large. In order to accomplish this they need white allies. Period. There are 100 Senators and black voters do not have the power, absent allies, to elect a single one.

    The numbers are clear. Self-sufficiency is a fantasy that keeps people from achieving realistic goals.

    ReplyReply
  92. TastyBits says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    it’s about power

    I am fully aware of your goal, but it is white power tossing a few crumbs to the darker folks.

    Black people want certain things from government and society at large.

    Black people want the same things everybody else want. Dignity and respect are two. Being around white people without having to constantly worry about being a racial stereotype is another. Not being considered a minority or different would be nice.

    For that matter, how is the gum scraping @Michael Reynolds different from the famous fiction writer @Michael Reynolds? How is the single mother in a crime infested Chicago neighborhood different than you? What is different about the “things from government and society at large” that either of you want? I am fairly certain that she does not want to be a pawn in your power game.

    need white allies

    Why do black voters need to become allies with white politicians? How about white voters electing black politicians in white majority areas?

    It is amusing that the only issue that unites white people is that Minister Farrakhan is evil. Minister Farrakhan believes that white people are evil, but being a minority, black people have to accept being hated. The one thing that enrages all white people is being hated.

    (And, I know you are Jewish.)

    ReplyReply
    2
    4
  93. Matt says:

    @TastyBits:

    Minister Farrakhan believes that white people are evil

    So his answer is for blacks to copy the worst aspect of whites? You know the whole assuming the other race is evil/criminal and thus anything that happens to them is deserved thing?

    Seems like a terrible idea and might be why people don’t like his “teaching”. Teaching hatred isn’t going to end racism or lay the groundwork for future cooperation…

    ReplyReply
  94. An Interested Party says:

    The local DA’s office doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence that justice will be served…

    ReplyReply
  95. Barry says:

    JAmes:

    “Further, they have been denied bail despite, as best I can tell, having been model citizens before this incident and demonstrating no flight risk.”

    Last I heard, a murder charge is a good reason to deny bail.

    “Facebook friends are calling this “murder” and assuming racist intent. But there’s no evidence of which I’m aware, other than that they’re white men from small-town Georgia, that these men are bigots. Much less that they intended to murder Arbery.”

    Except for the murder.

    “My strong guess, based on the cursory evidence I’ve seen, is that Arbery was indeed an innocent man killed for no good reason. But, absent strong evidence to the contrary, this looks to me like ill-advised vigilantism gone wrong.”

    The legal term for that is ‘murder’.

    “The 64-year-old retired cop missed the action. His untrained, fatass son got scared when a young black man quite understandably tried to wrest his long gun away from him after shots had already been fired and shot him.”

    In other words, the guy’s son attempted murder, and when the victim fought back, murdered the man.

    ReplyReply
  96. mattbernius says:

    @EddieInCA:
    No worries. It’s a common mistake and one I made for years. The more I dive into racial equity, history, and criminal justice reform, the more it became clear that this isn’t *just* a Southern issue. And calling it that tended to hide a wide variety of sins taking place here in the “North.”

    ReplyReply
  97. TastyBits says:

    @Matt:

    If you are black and do not like what Minister Farrakhan is offering, I am glad you learned enough to decide. If you are white, Minister Farrakhan is not offering you anything, but I am glad that you read about him and listened to his speeches.

    I am a cynical, cantankerous, old white guy, and my opinion of Minister Farrakhan has no value for a black man. I respect him because he gives black people something no white person can. He loves black people and their blackness.

    As to his belief that white people are evil, there is a lot of evidence that he is right, but as @Michael Reynolds notes, the Aztecs were evil also.

    ReplyReply
    1
    3
  98. Teve says:

    The Mongols in Xia. The Khmer Rouge. Indonesia. Serbia. Rwanda. Bangladesh. Carthage. Darfur. The history of all mankind is one group murdering the shit out of another group.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  99. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..The history of all mankind is one group murdering the shit out of another group.

    Let’s not forget: Buddhist mobs attack Muslim homes in Myanmar, one dead

    ReplyReply
  100. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @TastyBits:

    How about white voters electing black politicians in white majority areas?

    Not gonna happen. Too many ignint crackers in the electorate. 😉

    ReplyReply
  101. TastyBits says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    ignint crackers

    If I were a black man, all “crackers” would look alike.

    The “ignint crackers” let the police kill me, and the educated “crackers” let the drug gangs kill me.

    The “ignint crackers” tell me to get to the back of the bus and shut up, and the educated “crackers” tell me to sit anywhere but shut up.

    The “ignint crackers” denounce Minister Farrakhan as hateful and evil, and the educated “crackers” denounce Minister Farrakhan as hateful and evil.

    To a “cracker”, all “crackers” look different, and being a “cracker” has its privileges. To Minister Farrakhan, all “crackers” look alike, but because he has no “cracker” privileges, all the “crackers” tell him to shut up and get off the bus.

    Please, explain to me why a black man should be grateful to have educated “crackers” voting against “ignint crackers”.

    ReplyReply
  102. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @TastyBits: Don’t see any reason they should. My comment, if you would read it more closely, is exclusively about the likelihood of “white voters electing black politicians in white majority areas.” All of your points in argument against my phantom point (really Reynolds’s) are likely reasons that mitigate against your imaginary solution, to be honest.

    ReplyReply
  103. NW Steve says:

    @James Joyner: @James Joyner:

    But there’s no evidence of murderous intent.

    What, in your mind, was the purpose of coming to the encounter, which they very intentionally precipitated, with guns?

    ReplyReply
  104. TastyBits says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    My apologies. I assumed that you meant only some “crackers” are ignint, but apparently, you meant all “crackers” are ignint. As noted by @Michael Reynolds, “crackers” will always be in charge, and as noted by you, all “crackers” are ignint. So, I think we are all in agreement.

    imaginary solution

    I have no solution, and thus, my solution is nonexistent. not imaginary. In the US, the black man will not be treated as a man. To the “ignint crackers”, he will be treated as a political pawn, and his value is his blackness.

    As a “cracker”, I cannot help the black man by arguing with other “crackers” about what is best for the black man. All I can do is to direct the black man to a man who will accept him as a man, not a black man.

    ReplyReply
  105. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @TastyBits: There was a time when Farrakhans message had great relevance to the black plight of the day. Some of it is still spot on. I’ve jousted with commenters here before about Minister Farrakhan because I have no beef with him. The cosmology of the NOI aside, Farrakhan as well as Brother Malcolm delivered a message of self sufficiency and empowerment that motivated millions of young black men, like my father, to shun drugs, respect women, start businesses, and stop waiting on white people to show up with solutions to problems. If you listen to the messages Farrakhan delivers to Black people, you ain’t going to hear alot of talk about white devils, etc. Of course he regularly puffed up in the white media with white devil this and that…because it boosted his creds and financial support. My dad still reads The Final Call and bought audio sermons for years which I listened to growing up. There is some bad but a lot of good that Farrakhan has say about the black man’s plight in America and what he can do to survive.

    Today, the game is no longer about politics. Politican power is a football up for grabs for whoever can amass capital. The 21st Century blueprint for Black empowerment is similar to the Post-Reconstruction playbook run by the newly freed slaves. You have to move your people into the societal pillars and leverage that into political control. That means, blacks starting hedge funds, becoming doctors, more black lawyers that then become DAs, AGs, etc. blacks in banking & finance, agriculture, manufacturing…. Right now, we are expending alot of human capital to make riches entertaining white people–but over the past 20 years I’ve seen a switch to where the children and parents have less interest in the status that comes with being the local sports star and are looking for other things.

    I’ve always said you cant undo 400 years of cultural trauma in 150 years. We’ll be alright in the long run. Check back in 100 years. BTW, I am not the actual Jim Brown. I just respect the hell out of the man.

    ReplyReply
  106. JohnMcC says:

    @Jim Brown 32: One if the great lacrosse players ever!

    Seriously, you picked someone worthy of your respect.

    ReplyReply
  107. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Farrakhan as well as Brother Malcolm delivered a message of self sufficiency and empowerment that motivated millions of young black men, like my father, to shun drugs, respect women, start businesses, and stop waiting on white people to show up with solutions to problems.

    Except Brother Malcolm started getting a little too self-sufficient, at which point Farrakhan had him murdered.

    ReplyReply
  108. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I would completely agree that LF was involved but I think the order came from the top with Elijah Muhammad as he could not let the organization become synonymous with Malcolm X or let Malcolm parlay his profile into raising a new organization that would compete with NOI for the same pool of followers.

    ReplyReply
  109. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @JohnMcC: He was a Baaaaaad Mutha at Lacrosse! Kind of a little known fact about him.

    Coincidentally, Hampton University, a historically black university, recently started a Division 1 Lacrosse program, the only HBU in the nation to have one. Jim’s son Aris recently committed and will play for them next season.

    ReplyReply
  110. TastyBits says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I respect Minister Farrakhan, and I think much of what he says applies to white men as well. I have followed him over the years, and I listen to his whole speeches. After reading about his past, I disregard any white devil references which are usually taken out of context.

    Anyway, be careful out there. I know it can be a lot harder than most people imagine, and marching is not going to fix the day to day bullshit that you go through.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*