State Watch

Arbery murder trial set to begin this week

The murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery is set to begin with jury selection this week, almost 20 months to the day since the 25-year-old Black man was fatally shot.

As many as 1,000 residents from Glynn County, Ga. will report to jury duty at Selden Park, a recreation center in Brunswick, to start the jury selection process, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The process is taking place at the recreation center to allow for social distancing.

Twelve people from the jury pool will ultimately be chosen to deliberate over the trial where Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan, all of whom are white, are being tried for murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault.

Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, 2020 by Travis McMichael after being chased by both McMichaels and Bryan. His death made national headlines after a video of the incident released in May 2020 went viral.

The video shows Arbery running down a street away from two vehicles, then fighting with a man over a shotgun he was wielding.

An autopsy later revealed that Arbery was shot in the chest twice during the incident.

The McMichaels started chasing Arbery after he left a nearby house that was under construction, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

They argue they were acting on Georgia's citizen's arrest law, a statute that is no longer in effect, which allowed them to detain Arbery because they had "reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion" that he was running from the location where he committed a crime.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed legislation in May that repealed the citizen's arrest law.

Bryan later joined the McMichaels in chasing Arbery in his own truck. Bryan is also the man who took the video that later went viral, showing the final seconds before Arbery's death.

When Arbery, who was unarmed, was cornered by the two trucks he ran at Travis McMichael in an attempt to seize his shotgun, but was then fatally shot.

In April, both the McMichaels and Bryan were charged with federal hate crimes in connection to Arbery's death. The indictment accuses the men of using force and threatening to intimidate and interfere with Arbery's right to utilize a public street, and alleges that Bryan joined the chase and used his truck during the incident.

The trial for the three men is set to begin in February 2022.

The case involving Arbery's death made headlines last month when a former Georgia district attorney was indicted after the state attorney general alleged that she showed favor to Gregory McMichael, "knowingly and willfully" hindered law enforcement officers and directed that Travis McMichael not be placed under arrest for his connection to the case.

She faces charges of violation of oath of a public officer and obstruction of a police officer.