PRAYING FOR AND DEMANDING JUSTICE
On February 23rd, at 1:00 p.m., Ahmaud Arbery was out jogging in Brunswick, Georgia when he was confronted by two white men in a pickup truck who were supposedly chasing a Black man who was supposedly breaking into houses.
I say, “Supposedly” because there was no evidence that Ahmaud had broken into any houses nor done anything wrong. He was out running – something that he did every day. He was not running because he had done something wrong. He was running because he enjoyed running. It was what he did.
While he was out running, people began to call 911. In one segment of the actual 911 call the dispatcher asked, “Ok, what is he doing?” The caller responded, “He is running down the street.” Did you catch that? The caller did not see him breaking into a house; did not see him committing a crime nor did the caller see him doing anything that would necessitate a 911 call. He was running down the street.
Several years ago, Thresessa and I were in Charleston, South Carolina. As we walked down the street, a young Black man ran past us. As he got about 30 feet in front of us, a police officer stopped him and asked, “What are you doing?” The young man pointed forward and said, “I am trying to catch that bus,” as the bus slowly pulled off. I said, loud enough for the officer to hear, “So a Black man cannot run down the street? What about that white man over there who is running? Are you going to stop him?”
“Why is it perceived and assumed that if a Black man is running down the street, he must have committed a crime?” That is the question with which we must grapple.
Because of the law enforcement connections of Ahmaud’s murderers, two district attorneys have recused themselves. Before the second district attorney, George E. Barnhill, recused himself he wrote, “Given the fact Arbery initiated the fight, at the point Arbery grabbed the shotgun, under Georgia law, McMichael was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself.” He stated further, “Arbery’s mental health records & prior convictions help explain his apparent aggressive nature and possible thought pattern to attack an armed man.” There you have it. Racial bias at its best. The white men said they did nothing wrong by killing Ahmaud. The Black man is a Black man. Case closed.
It is interesting that they pursued Ahmaud in a pickup truck, they cut in front of him several times, they got out of the truck, and they claimed that Ahmaud initiated the fight. And, of course, it was because of his aggressive nature. Every time an unarmed, Black man is murdered, he was exhibiting an aggressive nature. Again, they pursued Ahmaud in a pickup truck, they cut in front of him several times, they got out of the truck, and they claimed that Ahmaud acted aggressively. Does this make sense to you?
That is why it is perceived and assumed that if a Black man is running down the street he must have committed a crime… because Black men are dangerous, they have criminal backgrounds and have aggressive natures. Black men are a threat. Therefore, if one sees a Black man running down the street, it is ok to confront him and kill him because if you do not, he will do something to you. It is an act of self-defense.
Thankfully, someone recorded the incident, and as is usually the case, the video shows a different reality of what actually occurred versus what was shared by the two white men who murdered Ahmaud. Justice will never be given unless we demand it. It is time for the Radical and Revolutionary Black Church to stand up.