Statement from the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and Young Professionals on the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man jogging
The Urban League of Greater Atlanta and the ULGA Young Professionals and ULGA Guild join the national outcry for justice in the case of Ahmaud Arbery. We are relieved by the news that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has arrested two of the men involved in his murder. We call on the Bureau to also arrest the third man who allegedly was an accomplice, videotaping the two men as they accosted and shot Arbery to death.
George McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, are identified as the two who are seen in a video following and murdering the unarmed 25-year-old who was jogging in a Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood. Travis’s neighbor, William Bryan, is said to have been in a separate vehicle videotaping the incident. We believe all three should be held accountable. We support the NAACP’s march for justice on May 8, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the Glynn County Courthouse, Brunswick, Georgia.
As part of seeking justice for Mr. Arbery’s family, we also call for an independent investigation into not only the case but how it was handled by local authorities from the start, why the video was not released earlier, and why no arrests were made as soon as authorities were notified that an unarmed man had been shot to death in broad daylight.
Our state and our nation have a history of taking the murder of unarmed black men lightly. We demand that the criminal justice system employ the same standards of accountability regardless of the race of the victims and the perpetrators.
The wheels of justice must continue to turn immediately. We must not make Mr. Arbery’s family wait for a grand jury that will not sit until June. We believe that in a similar case, where video has captured an unarmed man being shot down in the street vigilante-style, justice would not be put on hold if the race roles were reversed.
We concur with the statement issued by national NAACP President and CEO Derrick Jackson who states in part: “This incident is reminiscent of an atrocious era of hate and domestic terrorism where police officers and white protesters routinely brutalized African-Americans.”
The Urban League family extends our condolences to Ahmaud Arbery’s family as they deal with the horror and grief of losing their son in this senseless hate-crime violence. Their son is gone, and it is up to us to help them receive full justice on his behalf.