'The trial invokes an emotion that's sickening': NC activists, attorneys react to Ahmaud Arbery case

Akilah Davis Image
Friday, November 5, 2021
NC activists react to opening statements in Ahmaud Arbery trial
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Opening statements in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, wrapped up Friday afternoon.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Opening statements in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, wrapped up Friday afternoon. The prosecution painted the three defendants as residents who assumed the worse and made a driveway decision as the young man was spotted running down the street. The defense argued that the defendants living in Satilla Shores were part of community on edge.

Raleigh activist Kerwin Pittman watched the trial. At one point, he admitted turning it off out of disgust.

"Black males shouldn't be gunned down because they look suspicious," said Pittman. "This trial invokes an emotion that's sickening. To continue to see a pervasive theme of white man's justice and black man's grief in the criminal justice system."

Thursday, many raised questions when the final jury selection was announced: 11 of the 12 jurors are white and one is Black.

In Glynn County, census records show whites make up 69% of the population, while blacks are 27%. A North Carolina Central University clinical associate professor of law said there is historical context to what happens when a jury is nearly all white.

"We have a long history of all white juries or predominantly white juries acquitting white perpetrators against black victims," said professor Scott Holmes.

Pittman said that history concerns him as he plans to watch this case until a verdict is reached.

"Justice for Ahmaud Arbery. Though, it won't bring him back, that's the outcome I'm hoping for," he said.