Nina Turner on Arbery: Jogging while black, breathing while black, is suspect

Nina Turner, former national co-chair of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters Trump attacks Biden clean energy plan while announcing environmental rollback Car on fire near Supreme Court MORE's (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, was impassioned when talking about the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed while jogging after being followed and confronted by two white men in Brunswick, Ga., in February.

Footage of the fatal confrontation went viral after being released this week, sparking outrage around the country.

"They hunted Mr. Arbery down. To be black in America is to be suspect," Turner told Hill.TV Thursday.

She added: "This is not the first time that this has happened to an African American. This country has a long, distorted, dangerous history of treating African Americans, particularly African American men, as somehow they are born criminal, and that their lives – our lives – don't matter."

Gregory and Travis McMichael, father and son, have been identified as the men who trailed Arbery, eventually shooting him. Arbery was unarmed. They told police at the time that they thought Arbery was a burglar responsible for a series of break-ins in the area.

The specially appointed district attorney on the case has said that he will present the case to a Georgia grand jury, though under current restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state has suspended the seating of any grand jury.

"No American should be comfortable with this. It is something that the Black community has faced for generations, and it really hasn't gotten better in the 21st century," Turner continued. "This is 2020, and Mr. Arbery could not jog down the street. They said that they thought he was a suspect; that is an excuse that a whole bunch of white racists use, that Black people are suspect – that our very existence is suspect."