Prosecutor: Defendants decided to attack Arbery 'because he was a Black man running down their street'

A prosecutor said Monday that the defendants on trial for the February 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery decided to attack the 25-year-old man “because he was a Black man running down their street.”

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski, during her closing argument, said Travis and Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, all of whom are facing counts of felony murder in connection to Arbery’s slaying in Glenn County, Ga., targeted him "assuming the worst" about a man simply jogging through their neighborhood, according to Reuters.

“They shot and killed him. Not because he was a threat to them. But because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them,” Dunikoski added, according to The Associated Press.

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Arbery was shot to death on Feb. 23 of last year by Travis McMichael after being chased by both McMichaels and Bryan. Arbery’s death made national headlines after a video of the incident was released that May.

Arbery is seen running down a street away from two vehicles, then fighting with a man over a shotgun the other man had.

The McMichaels started chasing Arbery after he left a nearby house that was under construction, saying later they suspected him in a series of robberies. Bryan later joined the pair in chasing Arbery. He is also the one who took the video of the final seconds before Arbery’s death.

The defendants argued that they were working under Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law, which is no longer in effect. They claim the law allowed them to detain Arbery because they had “reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion” that he was fleeing the scene of a crime.

Travis McMichael is also arguing that he fired his weapon against Arbery as a form of self-defense.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, including murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment. The trial has involved 10 days of testimony. 

In cross-examination last week, Dunikoski grilled Travis McMichael over his defense, questioning him over his claims that he was acting on Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law and that he drew his gun as self defense.