When Trayvon Martin, 17, was chased down and shot dead by George Zimmerman in the town of Sanford, Florida on Feb. 23, 2012, after being deemed to be an “intruder” in the mostly-white community, many Blacks assumed that justice would be served. But the laws of the state of Florida allowed the so-called “security officer” Zimmerman to justify his actions and the jury to find him not guilty.
Since then, there have been hundreds of cases of young Black men and women who have lost their lives after whites, asserting their centuries-old “privilege,” took the law into their own hands. And yet, every time it happens, we cannot help but wonder how long African Americans must endure such a level of injustice.
Now, America faces yet another case of white men, this time a trio which includes a father, his son and their neighbor, all from a small town in Georgia, who stand accused of chasing down and killing Ahmaud Arbery, 25.
What crime did he commit? It appears that Arbery had the audacity to be out one morning “jogging while Black.”
His assailants, who have pleaded not guilty, are charged with malice and felony murder as well as
aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. As the jury selection process in their state trial began Monday in a Glynn County courtroom, this already has the makings of a three-ring circus-like event — a made-for-TV adventure — with over 1,000 men and women being summoned for consideration as jurors.
The defendants say they were merely conducting a citizen’s arrest on Arbery who they suspected of burglary and that after allegedly hitting Arbery with their truck, and then pursuing him, they had to shoot him in self-defense. However, looking at the video which they recorded, it’s hard to believe their account of the events which transpired and led to the young man’s tragic death.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, speaking to reporters on Monday, said she feels confident that justice will be served and that the community will once again stand behind her and her family.
We’d like to say we’re equally as confident that Ahmaud Arbery will finally rest in peace. But if history is any indication, we have serious doubts.
Black lives have always mattered – but only to a handful of Americans. This must change – now!