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Jogging While Black: An MCHR Statement on the Murder of Ahmaud Arbery

Posted May 18th, 2020  |  Statements

February 23rd, 2020, an unarmed black man, Ahmaud Arbery, while jogging in his Georgia neighborhood, was fatally shot by a white former police officer and his son.

Reportedly, there were burglaries in the area, and the white former police officer and his son thought Ahmaud Arbery looked like the thief, and so they pursued him with a truck and guns.

Did it matter that Ahmaud usually jogged five miles every day in this, his neighborhood?

Did it matter that when the white “vigilantes” (as some have called them) started to corral him with their truck, Ahmaud was in the middle of the road jogging?

It is not common for criminals to try to escape while jogging down the middle of the road in plain view. According to his family, the police came to their door implying that he was fatally shot during a burglary. They implied he was not a victim, rather, he was the suspect. End of story.

Little was heard about this tragic incident until almost three months later when a cellphone video — that appeared to show the killing — went viral May 5th, 2020. A national outcry has ensued.

Two days later, after the video went viral, the white former police officer and his son were arrested. They have been charged with murder and aggravated assault.

Further investigation revealed that the D.A. who was originally in charge had recused himself from the case as he knew the white assailants. Similarly, there could be no D.A. replacements locally, since all the D.A.s knew the white assailants.

As a board, the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights is outraged!

MCHR grieves and stands in solidarity with the Arbery family.

We grieve and stand in solidarity with all those families whose loved ones have been murdered while driving black; carrying a toy gun while black; going to the store while black; standing on a corner while black; reading to a child while black; trying to enter their own house while black.

We grieve and stand in solidarity with the nation who has called out and condemned this horrific “lynching” of a black man who was simply jogging in his neighborhood.

As a board, MCHR calls out a justice system that is neither just, nor color-blind, and one that continues to act as if it is okay to kill black men. We demand an immediate call to action as we remember Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words: “Justice too long delayed, is a justice denied.” We are watching and vigilant.

Board of Directors
Michigan Coalition for Human Rights