More on the Ahmaud Arbery Case

McMichaels, the ex-cop who spear-headed the two car, at least 2 guns, three man car chase of jogger Ahmaud Arbery, was forced into retirement because he  lost power to make arrests after skipping use-of-force training.

The same office that found it appropriate to refer to Arbery’s bringing a gun to a high school basketball game (and running away, never using the weapon or even pulling it out) from several years ago as a teen, did not think it was important to mention that 
“McMichael’s law enforcement certification was suspended in February 2019 after repeated failures to complete required training, according to documents from the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney’s office, including a warning in 2014 that he had neglected to finish mandatory firearms and use-of-force courses.”

I get that some of us are jaded after the whole Ferguson, hands-up debacle.  I definitely am.  I have egg on my face over that one, and I hesitated to say anything about this one because I sure blew it there. I was entirely too trusting.  Another good friend of mine tried to explain with sound and gentle reason why statistics made Ahmaud justifiably suspicious on the day he was killed.

I don’t know about that. Good statistics are probably mostly helpful when thinking about large problems, groups, issues, solutions, big pictures, less so when looking at a single human being- especially when he’s unarmed and you’re chasing him down the road armed and loaded, using two cars to play chicken with him and block him.

Or when you, armed and in your two vehicles with your son and a pal chase an unarmed man on foot for four minutes.

Interesting and strange factoid- McMichael Sr. himself is behind the leaking of the clip of video footage of his son shooting Arbery.  He thought it would help his case and calm racial tensions- at least that’s what the lawyer he gave it to says.  That is highly interesting for a couple reasons.  There are a few people out there who insist that they see nothing wrong with the footage, Travis is justified in shooting Ahmaud.  But the vast majority of even those defending the McMichaels do so by saying we don’t have full context, there must be something else outside the video range, or before the filming started, that will justify them.  Hardly anybody but the McMichaels think that the filming he had released actually helps him out, and virtually nobody on earth thinks it ‘eases racial tensions’ at all- so why does he see the world so differently?

I would posit it’s because of his LEO background.  I know traditional law and order conservatives don’t like to hear it, and don’t want to believe it, but there is a sense of us vs them, a sense of strong entitlement, an expectation that if they are speaking, we had best be listening and obeying.  To McMichaels and those defending him, the problem didn’t start when Arbery stood up and fought for his life- it started when he didn’t just freeze and submit to the demands of McMichaels to stop and submit to whatever McMichaels told him to submit to, to answer his questions as though he had any sort of authority to make those demands on another human being.  That world view is at odds with what the law actually requires. Worse, it’s at odds with a proper respect for and care not to abuse what authority legitimate cops do have.  I know I will be hearing, ‘but not all cops,’ and ‘but the good cops.’

I don’t want to believe it, either. I want it not to be true. But I don’t think it is true.  Part of what would go in to the making of a good cop, in my opinion, would be admitting this hubris exists and is part of the make-up of the police force, it would include more standing up against the bad cops than I see happening.

Something else to consider here- McMichaels released the footage himself, thinking it helped his case- but where did he get it? It wasn’t his.  It was his neighbour and friend William “Roddy” Bryan who filmed it with his cell phone from his vehicle behind the McMichaels.

He was recently arrested.  He was charged with attempted murder and false imprisonment.

“The warrant for William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. alleges he ‘did attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority … utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions’ in the 20 minutes before the fatal shotgun blasts.”

He filmed a part of the chase and the final shooting.  He followed the McMichaels, and according to them and the police report, he helped chase Ahmaud (he denies that now) and helped block him in, contributing to the growing sense of being trapped Ahmad must have felt in his last moments alive. He is behind the McMichael’s truck, filming (not helping, not calling 911, not stepping out and shouting to his neighbours, who are his friends, “What are you doing?”  Not the actions of an innocent bystander)- when Ahmaud tries to run around the passenger side of the McMichael’s truck, his exit is blocked by Roddy, who is in his car filming, and he has two armed men at his back.  That is the point he turned and fought for his life.

Bryan’s involvement according to the police report:

“The McMichaels tried to cut off Mr. Arbery during the chase, according to Mr. McMichael’s account, and Mr. Arbery tried to avoid them by turning around and running in the other direction. At that point, Mr. Bryan “attempted to block him, which was unsuccessful,” according to the report.

Mr. Arbery then turned onto another street, and the McMichaels got in front of him while Mr. Bryan pursued from behind and began filming.”

Bryan’s involvement is also taken as a fact by George E. Barnhill, the district attorney in Waycross, Ga, the second proscutor in the case.  He eventually recused himself, when it was discovered that his son worked with McMichael’s Sr.   But before he did, he gave an account of the event which included Bryan as part of the trio in ‘hot pursuit’ against Ahmaud.  (more here)

Roddy Bryan says he was a good samaritan.  His lawyer’s chosen defense of him seems to be that he’s a dolt with only a high school education and in Georgia that isn’t saying much.  No, really, That’s what his lawyer says!

The McMichaels daughter, 30, posted an unedited photograph of Ahmaud’s dead body to her Snapchat.  She took it down later, saying she meant no harm, but was just a big fan of true crime stories.  I find that more than a little creepy and disturbing. It’s probably the least important thing in this post, though.

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