Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements

In the Georgia trial over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Judge Timothy Walmsley delivered a haymaker to the defense on the very eve of closing statements.  The court ruled that Georgia’s prior citizen’s arrest law is only applicable if a person sees a felony committed and acts without delay. The ruling could be “outcome determinative” in the case by stripping away the core defense that these men were chasing a person suspected of a series of crimes over the last year. Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan are likely to make this ruling the heart of any appeal if they are convicted.

The judge ruled Friday afternoon that the prior citizen’s arrest law requires that the arrest would have to occur right after any felony crime was committed. Bob Rubin, attorney for Travis McMichael, objected that “if you are going to instruct the jury as you say, you are directing a verdict for the state.”

Judge Walmsley simply responded “I understand the significance of this charge.”

The new law in Georgia removes the right of bystanders or witnesses generally to detain people. Deadly force is not authorized to detain someone unless it is used in the act of self-protection, protecting a home, or preventing a forcible felony. The new law does allow business employees to detain people suspected of theft, including restaurant employees who detain people who try to leave without paying for their meals. Licensed security guards and private detectives are also allowed to detain people.

Georgia, however, still retains its “stand your ground” law, which does not require retreat before someone defends themselves.

Here is the prior law:

O.C.G.A. 17-4-60 (2010)
17-4-60. Grounds for arrest

A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.

Walmsley’s interpretation is that even if the offense is committed in a person’s presence or within his immediate knowledge, they must act contemporaneously with that observation.  The active language of the second line would seem to support that meaning of an immediate response to the observed crime.

The defense could appeal this ruling and will likely do so with any conviction. One can read the first line to mean that the qualification elements refer to personal observation or knowledge. The second line could then mean that the person, upon confrontation or identification, is attempting to escape.  Moreover, if it is not “committed in his presence,” it is a bit unclear what “within his immediate knowledge” means. It clearly cannot mean the same thing as “committed in his presence.” Thus, it suggests that someone has been informed of the status of the suspect as an offender. Of course, that could still mean, as Judge Walmsley suggests, that the knowledge was “immediate” to the crime like assisting an actual witness to the crime.

The history of this provision is highly controversial. Indeed, the problem is that the court must rely on past courts interpreting a law with a horrific legacy not just during the Civil War but later during the Civil Rights movement.

The law was created in 1863 and was designed to allow whites to capture fleeing slaves.  The defense could argue that such a purpose contradicts Walmsley’s immediacy element since fleeing slaves could be captured days or weeks after escape. However, the appellate court could rule that the escape was, at that time, considered a crime in progress and thus remained an immediate or ongoing crime.  The appellate court will have to weigh past cases on how the law was interpreted.

Whatever happens on appeal, the ruling cut the legs away from the defense. This is a common risk in criminal cases where you build a defense based on an interpretation that the court later rejects on the eve of closing arguments. In my view, courts should avoid this problem by ruling on such threshold legal issues before the trial.

As I have noted throughout the trial, both the prosecution and defense counsel were strong in the case. The defense counsel did an effective job in having McMichael go through his training in the Coast Guard. At points he sounded like an expert witness on law enforcement and the use of force. The prosecution did an excellent job in showing that there was no evidence that Arbery had actually stolen anything and how McMichael continued to pursue him as Arbery tried to avoid the trucks.

Defense counsel took a considerable risk in putting Travis McMichael on the stand. As a defense attorney, I see the justification for the risk. Indeed, this ruling increases the need for such a Hail Mary play.

The thrust of such testimony is not acquittal, which always seemed unlikely. The videotape in the case is too chilling to expect an acquittal. The scene of these men chasing Arbery in their trucks was incredibly upsetting for many of us who watched the videotape. It was equally unnerving to see a law designed to chase down slaves used as a defense. 

The testimony of McMichael was more likely part of a strategy for a hung jury — trying to create just enough of a connection with the defendant or reasonable doubt to sway a couple of jurors. Hearing from the defendant can create that type of connection.  While McMichael made admissions like the fact that Arbery did not threaten him before they struggled for the gun, that fact was already obvious from the videotape and the testimony of witnesses. The defense was trying to rebut the image of the videotape showing McMichael shooting Arbery and then walking away. That is not likely to sway an entire jury as opposed to a couple members. However, you need only one holdout for a hung jury.

 

61 thoughts on “Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements”

  1. Here is a pretty good analysis of how the encounter that led to the shooting occurred…..and if the raw video is that which the Jury has asked to watch three times…..the Prosecution is going to have a very tough time convincing the Jury it was intentional.

    Also….it is going to be impossible to claim false imprisonment….as the deceased ran around the parked pickup on the opposite side of the guy holding the shotgun THEN turned and engaged the guy with the gun in a physical attack that included trying to take the shotgun away from the guy.

    The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt….the three men are guilty of the crimes they are being charged with….and I see a lot in that raw video that undermines their efforts to do so.

    In the analysis video….one thing that stands out to me is the 911 Caller stood still in his front yard across the street from the house where the suspect was wandering around in the house….and upon exiting the suspect immediately took flight upon seeing the 911 Caller with the phone to his ear across the street. If you were the 911 Caller…seeing that immediate flight by the suspect…..what you have thought?

    If the analysis is correct….there was a lengthy period of time….a pursuit (of some manner not shown or determined) where the suspect doubled back on those following him until he had one vehicle behind him and another parked in the roadway where the deadly encounter occurred.

    We see the suspect then change directions a couple of times in a short period of time….then run around the parked vehicle on the opposite side to the Driver who was holding a shotgun in his hands……key to this is the opposite side of the vehicle to the gun holder.

    Then we see the suspect turn…change directions and cross the front of the vehicle before the gunman can begin to move in the suspect’s direction…..until they meet just pass the centerline of the vehicle where the suspect has grabbed the shotgun and is trying to wrest it away from the gunman. During the physical encounter…a violent struggle for the shotgun….shots are fired and the suspect is mortally wounded.

    Three shots were fired….was it determined if they were all intentional or some caused by the struggle and thus not all were intentional?

    If you were a Jury….and carefully considered the video evidence…and carefully considered the Statements made by the three Defendants….comparing each to the other and the video evidence….how sure would you be of what actually happened that day?

    Did the prosecution prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt…..no all doubt…..just reasonable doubt….enough to convince ALL twelve Jurors?

  2. just a northerners opinion not left or right three against one reasonably or otherwise suggest self defense…….all three are guilty of first degree murder…… from a middle of the road white man.

  3. It’s really up to the jury. In the final instance the jury is not obliged to submit to ‘legal logic’ or even the general interpretation of a law. It’s been acknowledged that lawyers have been dancing us around the block for centuries. For better (or worse as we’ve seen even lately in many instances) the jury is supposed to be there to protect against the bafflegab of the legal community and deliver justice.

  4. While the reason for trying to detain Arbery is important, I have always thought the crux of the case was whether it was reasonable for him to try to grab the weapon from the defendant. If he was in fear for his life and had no other choice then maybe so, but if not, once the struggle began I would think self defense becomes a strong argument and justification for the shooting. I have watched the video and it is perhaps clearer to others, but I did not see Arbery as being trapped. If he had a means of escape, that would have been the wiser course. Having also seen the video of his prior interaction with questioning police officers in a public park, his personality indicates he was probably more confrontational with the defendant than the jury has likely been made aware of.

    1. Nope. The crux is if they were the aggressors. You can not claim self defense if you are the aggressor. That is why this ruling is so bad for them, citizen arrest was the only reason possible that would have put doubt on them being the aggressor.

    2. Just so. The shooting was not justified iff Arbery reasonably feared death or grievous bodily injury, making his attack privileged, and he did not. The citizen’s arrest statutw is a sideshow.

    3. You’re way wrong. An extremely perverse reaction that, if it became generalized could promote characterizing anybody accosted as the criminal.

    4. The reason is not important. It was not the defendant’s call to make. Also, have you ever tried to out run a bullet that was intended for you? I’m confused by your logic.

  5. Assuming Prof. Turley’s quote of the law is correct, the Judge makes the only reasonable interpretation. Clearly, the second sentence applies only within the scope of the first.

    I suggest that immediate knowledge could be something like a thief runs out of a store, immediately followed be a store employee who shouts, “Stop him, he just stole from us.” The person on the street did not witness the crime but arguably has “immediate knowledge” upon which he might legally try to detain the running man.

    But if the alleged criminal is not detained at that time, there is time and opportunity for the victim to go to law enforcement authorities to handle the matter, and the argument for citizen arrest becomes a matter of vigilantism.

    It gets difficult when there is a lot of crime and inadequate law enforcement, but the law as written is intended to avoid vigilantes acting days later. One can argue about changing the law, increasing the police force, beefing up the whole CJ system–but until that is done, the law (at the time) was the law.

    1. I suggest that “immediate knowledge” is not a reference to time, just as “immediate family” is not. People spoke differently when this law was written, and more properly. I believe “immediate” means the source of your knowledge was a close source, not 4th or 5th hand information, for example.

    2. It does beg the question whether a return to vigilantism might deliver better justice. Let’s defund the police and promote open carry and see where the chips fall.

      1. Trouble with everybody ‘carrying’ is that 5 year olds get killed. Bullets fly randomly. Just wait until somebody intent of ‘justice’ lets fly in an auditorium or theater. There is a huge problem in the States these days–mst uncivilized Western country–and it doesn’t seem solveable.

  6. “The court ruled that Georgia’s prior citizen’s arrest law is only applicable if a person sees a felony committed and acts without delay. The ruling could be “outcome determinative” in the case by stripping away the core defense that these men were chasing a person suspected of a series of crimes over the last year.”

    – Professor Turley
    ______________

    Did you say, “…sees a felony committed and acts without delay”?

    Looks like that happens in San Francisco too.

  7. The media talks about how if KR was Black he wouldn’t have been found not guilty forgetting that only last month two groups of Black men shot many rounds at each other, it was captured on video and the Black DA didn’t even press charges claiming it was mutual combat or some such insanity. The media doesn’t seem to recall that Jussie Smollett filed a false police report and yet he never paid for that crime. OJ Simpson was found not guilty???

    It isn’t white privilege that we see in the halls of justice, it is liberal privilege that occurs every day. Compare the treatment of the Jan 6 people with the treatment of those that BURNED POLICE STATIONS and FEDERAL COURTHOUSES. Compare the treatment of the trespassers from Jan 6th to the treatment that the two LAWYERS (graduates from top schools) are receiving after they were FILMED lobbing Molotov cocktails into a police car. They have been out on bail for months and they threw INCENDIARY DEVICES at police. Who are the insurrectionists?

    Roger Stone gets prison and a CNN Swat Team invasion of his house while the leftists that lied to congress get peaceful arrests.

    Nope, the privilege we see is all about politics. Imagine a guy masturbating on a company Zoom call and then sitting on a CNN panel saying that KR acted foolishly. Not fired, not embarrassed, not shy about giving his biased legal opinion, nope just another day in the life of a lefty. Imagine, GOD FORBID, if Victor Davis Hansen did something so egregious, or Tucker, or any other right of center public figure.

  8. Just watched the video again (and again and again and again). I watch the videos because I know so many know-it-alls don’t.

    Setting aside the complicated legal questions because I’m not a lawyer, my unschooled opinion is that Arbery continuing to assault the defendant even while the defendant is retreating and pointing the gun toward the ground and away from Arbery doesn’t help the prosecution.

    Lesser charges like reckless endangerment, brandishing, or maybe even manslaughter, yea, but murder, no.

    I don’t know all the law, but I know what I see.

    1. And on the issue of hate crimes, I could easily see these guys accosting a white suspect casing their neighborhood for burglarizing constructions sites, so I don’t see a hate crime there. Hate-crime legislation is itself calculated racism.

      1. “Hate-crime legislation is itself calculated racism.”

        – Diogenes
        _________

        “Hate crime” references are hysterical and incoherent aberrations of law which do not establish a crime but describe an irrelevant and tangential intent that all violent crimes are based on at some level.

        Government has no authority to establish whom one accepts or rejects, favors or disdains, and loves or hates.

        There are innumerable causes for rejection, disdain and hate.

        “Hate crime” law is biased and subjective, not sober, efficacious and good jurisprudence.

        The inmates have taken over the asylum, and it’s long past time to take it back.
        ______________________________________________________________

        “[We gave you] a republic, if you can keep it.”

        – Ben Franklin

    2. “ my unschooled opinion is that Arbery continuing to assault the defendant even while the defendant is retreating and pointing the gun toward the ground and away from Arbery doesn’t help the prosecution.”

      Why would it be assault? Why not self defense? After all he was being chased by armed individuals and cornered. It is automatically assumed Arbery is a criminal. I thought you were innocent until proven guilty. Since we already know Arbery didn’t commit any crime the act of trying to grab the gun can be construed as an act of self defense.

      1. Innocent until proven guilty only applies to Trials….after being arrested, charged, indicted, arraigned then prosecuted in a formal tribunal.

        You skipped right over reasonable grounds, reasonable suspicion, and probably cause in trying to make your case.

      2. Svelaz: “Since we already know Arbery didn’t commit any crime the act of trying to grab the gun can be construed as an act of self-defense.”

        If the defendant pointed the gun at Arbery before Arbery grabbed the gun, I might agree with you. Unfortunately, I can’t tell what happened at that moment because the truck is blocking the view. The only thing I know beyond a reasonable doubt is that the defendant retreated with the gun pointed away and Arbery continued assaulting him until Arbery got shot.

        Now you could argue that the mere brandishing of a firearm constituted an immediate death threat to Arbery. That’s dicey, but a jury might buy it for manslaughter. For murder, I personally would not convict.

      3. Svelaz, the defense certainly has their case cut out for them. I listened to part of the testimony in which one of the defendants described how far they chased Arbery. It was the defendants chasing Arbery, running him down. From what little I’ve seen of this trial, I think Arbery would have felt threatened being chased by men in two trucks. I would have. Remember when A$AP Rocky was chased and his bodyguard struck repeatedly by that guy in Sweden, before the bodyguard put an end to it?

        This case is quite a bit different from the Rittenhouse trial. I have not watched much of it, so can’t say if there was any evidence presented that supported a self defense argument.

    3. Diogenes:

      Would you mind posting a link of the video you watched? I’ve only seen snippets of that trial in general, and the video specifically.

      My impression was that the defendants were the aggressors, Arbery kept trying to run from them, and only fought them at the end when they got out of their vehicles with their weapons and continued to chase him. It seems like the opposite of the Kyle Rittenhouse case.

      But I admit that I have not seen a video of the entire encounter, just edited portions.

      I watched the questioning of the red haired defendant for a while. During that short piece, he did not convince me that it was justified. I would like to know if there has been any evidence that would support a self defense argument.

      Even if Arbery was a thief, he was running away. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know if manslaughter or homicide would be more appropriate.

  9. The Court’s reading of the statute would preclude a citizen’s arrest of an escaping suspected felon where the citizen’s ID of the suspected felon is based on LE’s BOLO description of the suspect. Could an ordinary citizen read that statute and know he can’t make a citizen’s arrest of a fleeing felon based on a LE BOLO? Example: BOLO, 6′ 2″ white male, gunshot wound to left arm, yellow shirt, purple pants. Citizen ID’s felony suspect meeting each item in the BOLO and effects citizen’s arrest. That wouldn’t satisfy the statute?

  10. “The law was created in 1863 and was designed to allow whites to capture fleeing slaves. The defense could argue that such a purpose contradicts Walmsley’s immediacy element since fleeing slaves could be captured days or weeks after escape. However, the appellate court could rule that the escape was, at that time, considered a crime in progress and thus remained an immediate or ongoing crime. The appellate court will have to weigh past cases on how the law was interpreted.”

    Well, that’ll just be a shining American moment as the appeal focuses on how to equate Arbery with being a slave. Good times on this blog, no doubt.

    1. “as the appeal focuses on how to equate Arbery with being a slave.”

      Only a tribalist would spew such racist garbage.

      The historical roots of a law are not the same thing as the current definition of a law. The then law pertained to the proper grounds for executing a citizen’s arrest, and of course had nothing to do with capturing slaves.

      But when you’re bent on smearing America as “systemically racist,” such facts and context are merely an inconvenience.

      1. “ The historical roots of a law are not the same thing as the current definition of a law.”

        According to any constitutional originalist. The historical roots of the law do matter.

        The defense is relying on a law created when slavery was still present and slave laws were common.

        The McMichaels had only an assumption a crime was committed, not an immediate knowledge that one WAS committed and it had to be a felony. Arbery obviously didn’t committed any crime. The defense is using the fact that Arbery was running as proof that he was “fleeing” from a crime scene. But no crime was committed so the “fleeing from a crime scene” defense is useless.

        They stopped him because they assumed he committed a crime. Not because they knew.

      2. Are the defendants legal historians? Is everyone who follows a law required to first research its history? Obviously not. These guys followed a law that is currently on the books in their state, and whether their interpretation was valid or reasonable will be up to the jury.

  11. This article begs a question: how have Georgia’s courts actually interpreted this law in the past? Regardless of the law’s terrible origin, this would seem to be the most important question for the validity of the instruction.

    The way I read the law is that the first sentence deals with situations where the person witnesses the commission of the crime or otherwise learns as a matter of virtual certainty that it happened. The person has personal or indirect but clear knowledge that the perpetrator committed a crime.

    The second sentence deals with perpetrators who are fleeing, but only if they committed more serious felony crimes. In this case, the person need not have witnessed the crime or have indirect but virtually certain knowledge that it happened. Instead, reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion are sufficient.

    The first sentence says nothing about when the arrest must be made. The second sentence appears to apply only when felons are actively fleeing. Whether the first should be interpreted in light of the second to read in a time limitation may have been considered by Georgia’s courts before. If not, the judge is making an original interpretation.

    It is surprising that, if there is no clear precedent on this, the judge would risk reversal on appeal. In the absence of this instruction, and given that the second sentence does not appear to apply, what crime did the defendants witness or have immediate knowledge of? I have not followed this case closely, but it is hard to see how seeing someone walk onto property where a house is under construction amounts to witnessing a crime or immediate knowledge of a crime. Suspicion is not enough when only the first sentence applies. So, even without this instruction, the defence would have seemed to have had a tough time.

    1. Using the second sentence as justification for trying to arrest Arbery won’t work. Turley forgets that in the past when slaves were on the run it was automatically known they committed a felony. Running usually meant they escaped from their owners which was a felony crime at the time. That’s where the “immediate knowledge” was used even after days or weeks on the run. Plus the owner would be considered the witness who could tell anyone their slave was missing and on the run.

      It was well known back then that any slave running automatically was committing a felony crime.

      Trying to look at past court decisions is only going to be looking into past decisions made when you had racist judges and prosecutors.

      I’m surprised that Turley isn’t focusing on the law’s wording itself. As I pointed out you can’t really use the second sentence as a defense because Arbery’s captors ASSUMED he committed a crime. The law states they had to KNOW he committed a crime, a felony crime. The law doesn’t state a suspicion is enough.

      1. The second sentence says explicitly that in the case of a fleeing felon, reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion are enough. So what are you talking about? Now, it seems to me that there were not here reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion that he was a fleeing felon, but that is a different point.

        1. Daniel, the point is in order to have a defense using the second sentence the McMichaels would have had to know Arbery committed a felony crime. They only assumed. They would ha s had to know that Arbery was a fleeing felon. The reason why that sentence is not a good argument is because it would have had to be known that Arbery was indeed a fleeing felon. All they had was an assumption that he committed a crime without being certain that he actually did.

          1. Svelaz that simply cannot be right. In the case of a possible fleeing felon, the second sentence of the statute says explicitly that the defendant need only show that he had reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion. Perhaps this was to encourage the prevention of escape by those who commit serious crimes. But neither presence at the crime nor other immediate knowledge of it is required. How otherwise do you make sense of the language referring to reasonable and probable grounds for suspicion.

            1. Daniel:

              I’ve only caught snippets of the trial, and only seen edited portions of video of the final confrontation. I did hear part of the red-haired defendant’s testimony in which he detailed how many times Arbery tried to escape from them. It appeared, just from that brief part, like the defendants were the aggressors.

              It sounds like you have watched more of this trial. What is your opinion of the prosecution’s case?

      2. isn’t trespassing a crime? IDK if it is a misdemeanor or felony under GA law, but my understanding is that Arbery trespassed multiple times, during both the day and night, on to a building construction site.The defendants knew about the trespasses and assumed he was looking for tools or other items to steal. Arbery did NOT have any stolen items in his possession when they stopped him, so I’m thinking they were trying to detain him for trespassing. Perhaps I’m wrong…haven’t followed the case closely.

  12. Giocon1,

    I was on the record a week ago stating that I would accept the jury’s verdict come what may. I agree that the those on the Left deploring the verdict are wrong as they can be.

    You say that the Democrats sabotaged the trial-by-jury system after the Rittenhouse trial. Accordingly, may I presume that you WILL ACCEPT the jury’s verdict in any trial of Giuliani, Bannon’s contempt trial, the trial of Trump’s taxman Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization or even Trump himself?

    You promise?

    1. Jeff, you were doing so well until you brought up Trump. I will accept this decision, ESPECIALLY if they are found guilty, but the left will only accept decisions that they agree with or with which they support. What we have seen and heard about the Rittenhouse decision is the most egregious race baiting I have ever seen and the left should be ashamed.

      Why isn’t calling KR a murderer THE BIG LIE?

      1. HullBobby,

        I’ll say again that it is wrong for anyone on the Left to delegitimize the jury’s verdict in this case.

        Calling KR a “murderer” is atrocious and should be condemned, but it is a matter of opinion. However, if someone stated that KR was found guilty of first degree murder, that WOULD be a lie.

        Don’t evade my question:

        Will you accept the jury’s verdict in any trial of Giuliani, Bannon’s contempt trial, the trial of Trump’s taxman Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization or even Trump himself?

        Will you promise not to undermine the verdict by impugning the motivations of the presiding Judges or jurors as Trump no doubt will? If there are errors in the cases, they can be appealed. Will you accept any final and unappealable verdicts against Trump or his associates?

  13. Monument says:

    “There is a certain racist segment of society that sees everything through the prism of race. Justice is only incidental to their analysis.”

    I am thinking of Trump.

    “You will recall Judge Curiel from the infamous attack by Trump on his Mexican heritage, even though he was born in the United States.”

    I did not say the above quotation. You know who did.

    Turley.

    https://jonathanturley.org/2016/09/19/trump-lawyers-fail-in-bid-to-delay-trump-university-trial/

    Turley agrees with you and so do I.

      1. Monument,

        I am receiving professional counseling for my TDS. Are you getting help with your BDS and HDS?

  14. I see the core issue being the fight over the shotgun.

    Has the prosecution proven the defendant(s) intended to shoot and kill the dead Man?

    What have they said was their “Intent”…..did they fully intend to shoot the guy….and if he had not grabbed the shotgun….could he (the Dead Man) justly think that was going to be the outcome had stopped running and surrendered to the Defendant(s) to await the Police arrival?

    To be honest….I have not followed this case recently as I had assumed the Prosecution was going to have an easy task in getting a conviction considering the circumstances and the law although I did not think it would a conviction for murder.

    Even the murder count requires proving of intent….as compared to negligible homicide which does not.

    Folks….this is Georgia where this Trial is taking place….Juries tend to take a dim view of burglary as well as they do Homicide.

    It is hard for the Prosecution to get over the fact the Dead Man had been inside a house not his and without the owner’s permission.

    Bottom line….had the Dean Man NOT fought over the shotgun he would not have been shot as he had not been shot at or shot prior to that fatal physical altercation.

    Manslaughter perhaps but not murder is my bet….if a conviction at all.

    1. Ralph Chappell, you could say that Arbery was trying to defend himself. He knew he didn’t commit a crime and he was being chased by three white men with weapons.

      The idea of complete strangers chasing you with weapons without knowing why they were would put anyone on the defensive and the aggressive nature of the McMichaels actions can force a defensive action such as grabbing the rifle. He WAS cornered and the intent of the McMichaels was to apprehend him. The McMichaels are already guilty of making a stupid decision based on an assumption. The consequences are worse. They still face federal charges.

      1. Cite the Georgia and Federal Statute that makes “Stupid” a crime?

        I don’t know about you….but if I was jogging and saw a pickup parked ahead in the road way and a guy holding a shotgun calling for me to stop….and there was a pickup truck coming up behind me with two guys in it and one of the brandishing a firearm also calling for me to stop…..the very last thing I would do is attack the guy holding the shotgun and try to wrest it away from him. Add up the rest of factors surrounding this….Black guy in a White upper middle class neighborhood in southeast Georgia….and one can understand with good reason why the Black guy could legitimately have some concern for his safety…..but becoming aggressive would be the very last thing one would think wise. After all…it was broad daylight in the middle of a residential neighborhood and it is 2020 and not the 1930’s. Times and people have changed.

        Had he stopped….put his hands up and complied with the commands being made….and NOT committed what is patently an attack on the guy with the Shotgun…be it offensively or defensively….just maybe he would have not been harmed.

        Misconceptions apply to everyone involved in this it would appear.

        That is the problem with proving murder….as everything has to be considered beginning with the actual Laws that apply…and then all of the actions by everyone involved.

        1. Ralph, I agree with much of what you say, but it is the over zealous actions of the defendants that caused the situation and the death of the victim in this case. You can say what Aubrey should have done, but the defendants acted recklessly and a man ended up dead.

          1. I suggest you don’t get up to any suspicious conduct in my neighborhood…..we do not live in the big city and darn tooting look out for our neighbors….and it is a rare occasion that there is not a gun of some kind close to hand.

            That being said…we do not draw a distinction by Race, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Socio-economic Class….it is being not known and being up to no good that gets you confronted or the police called on you or both.

            Most of us have agency agreements that allow us to speak as an Agent for the other Property Owner so that we can order folks off each others property under actual color of Law and if they refuse to leave….we can attempt to detain them pending arrival of the Police.

            We cannot prevent then from leaving if they desire…..and we cannot point a firearm at them unless they present a physical threat to our safety….and most of the hoodlums know that. Most of the hoodlums also fully understand that leaving is cool but attacking anyone is not conducive to ever drawing a Social Security Retirement Check.

            As we are a fairly remote area with very scarce police service….and a close knit community….that is how we protect ourselves against criminals.

            We have Castle and Stand Your Ground Laws here….and use then appropriately.

            We do not have much of a problem in that regard. because we do what we do as a community.

            Word travels fast when the Police react to being given Photos of Trespassers, Dopers, Burglars, and other Miscreants along with License Tag Numbers etc.

            Ours might be delayed arriving but they do follow up on matters but the first line of defense are the Citizens.

            A few months back I had a Trespasser on my porch….a known Drug Addict, Burglar, and Registered Sex Offender who was sleeping off some contraband medication that had made him sleepy. How he wound up my porch remains a mystery. I called 911…stayed on the phone with the Dispatcher….asked for EMS and a Deputy as I did not know if I had a Corpse, sick person, or just a drunk on my hands. I armed myself and stepped out on the porch to do a quick assessment of him….and he began to stir. When he stood up….I backed off a couple of steps and placed my handgun behind my leg out of sight….and tried to get him to sit back down and wait for EMS….at some point he turned, ran, and fled from the two Deputies that arrived ahead of EMS. Later we identified him from items he left behind. Later he was confronted by the Deputies and warned never to set foot on my property again….ever as he would be arrested for Trespassing. Had he been aggressive….the whole situation could have turned out very much for the worse for him on the spot. How much worse we shall never know as he did not make any aggressive act….which was a wise thing for him to do.

            Consider that to the account that happened down in Georgia….it takes two to Tango….if either party gets out of step….some toes get hurt….whose toes get hurt the worst depends upon how it turns out.

            The Defendants in the Georgia Case could have merely followed the Deceased and kept the Police Dispatcher informed of his description and location, direction of travel, etc….and not confronted him….that would have precluded the result that happened.

            The Deceased could have complied and the fatal encounter would not have occurred.

            The initial action did not force the Deceased to commit the attack….it may have set the stage for it…..but for sure the continued struggle over the shotgun surely caused the fatal outcome.

            The Jury shall decide where the blame shall be placed….exactly as did the Jury in the Rittenhouse Case.

            Judges administer the Law….Juries decide cases based upon the evidence and testimony…..the Media and Politicians should play no role in that process. Mobs damn sure should not.

        2. Ralph Chappell,

          “ Had he stopped….put his hands up and complied with the commands being made….and NOT committed what is patently an attack on the guy with the Shotgun…be it offensively or defensively….just maybe he would have not been harmed.”

          Why would be stop? They were not law enforcement obviously. Arbery had no obligation to stop even if they had weapons. He had a right to flee and defend himself. The automatic assumption that a black man in a predominantly white neighborhoods is considered a possible criminal because he was running is one of the underlying problems with the case. The act of running itself wasn’t a crime, it was the assumption that by just merely running he was guilty of a crime. Hence the reason for going after him.

          The law itself only allows for citizens to arrest someone when they witnessed a felony being committed. All the McMichaels saw was a black man running past their property. At that point they already assumed he was a criminal and decided to give chase. Arbery had no idea who was chasing him or why and being armed he had every right to assume they were seeking to harm him. The aggressors were the McMichaels not Arbery. He was within his right to defend himself even if it meant grabbing the rifle.

          Attempting to grab the rifle can be construed as a defense given that he was indeed forcibly cornered and chased down. If Arbery had a gun he would have been justified in shooting those two in self defense.

      2. You’re dumb. Arbery – a worthless bum, crackhead and criminal knew that he was being chased because of the trespassing, which itself is a misdemeanor. There is a very high probability that Arbery would have known that these 3 “strangers” driving were neighbours to the house where he was repeatedly making visits to.

        Without Arbery bothering to stop, show his empty pockets or reason with the 3 men, but only arrogantly run away…… just proves that they were acting reasonably to make inferences of the definite trespassing being associated with an attempted burglary.
        The defence of the 3 men only becomes harder if Arbery communicates to them that he has done nothing

        The most important thing here being that the jury was denied knowledge that the worthless bum WAS ON PAROLE at the time. This feature perfectly explains why he was running away and later on grabbed Mcmichael’s gun. Maybe the trespassing does count as a parole violation and would send him back to jail, hence why he would be motivated to stupidly attack Mcmichael holding a gun – and provides plenty of room for arguing he was acting in self defence.

        I’m a Brit, but I have to say that American legal system is a joke that I’m glad I don’t have to live under.

  15. There is a certain racist segment of society that sees everything through the prism of race. Justice is only incidental to their analysis.

    Rittenhouse (white) acquitted of murder, bad.

    These three (white) convicted of murder, good.

    I am thinking of Joy Reid and her cohorts.

    Justice is not their goal. They seek vengeance.

    It appears that the courts will deliver two good verdicts here, but only one just outcome will be celebrated by the left.

    1. monumentcolorado — Yes, the leftist response to the Rittenhouse verdict was disgusting, and undermines the entire jury system. And the “exuses” for their rage were all based on false information about the trial, as well as those ridiculous “what if he were black” games. The mob was clearly saying: No white guy anywhere deserves justice because “if he were black” he wouldn’t get any. The left howled about the Capitol riot and called it an “insurrection,” but that was nothing compared to the sabotaging of the legal trial-by-jury system that the Democrats and black leaders engaged in after the Rittenhouse trial.

    2. Yeah, but they seek “vengeance” – for historical wrongs – against anybody who happens to be white. That is just delusional. You are right – there will be two good verdicts in these two cases, but only one of them will be celebrated as “the system worked as intended.”

      Too bad when agendas overcome fairness, due process, and justice.

      1. I haven’t been watching this trial as I was watching Rittenhouse’s.
        But I do remember when this incident happened. The father/son had said there were several robberies in their neighborhood. Among those robberies was a gun taken out of their truck. I believe it was a pistol. I remember them saying those incidences were reported to police. It was also stayed that there were videos of that kid. He was not a jogger. And, he had no business in that neighborhood.
        When they spotted the “subject” that day, they called the police first; then went to detain him as a citizen’s arrest.
        It was the kid that attacked the fellow with the gun by grabbing the barrel and hitting the guy.
        At that point, it is definitely self defense to protect yourself from an attack from someone violently trying to take your gun.
        Then, we also learned the kid brought a gun to a sports game at a HS and has other criminal problems.
        The biggest question is why was he in that neighborhood far from home in the first place and why did he keep returning?
        But, whither or which, the fact is the cops were called immediately and the guys were just going to detain him. In Georgia, carrying guns on pick up trucks is a normal, daily occurrence, so people from kooky, coastal cities giving their opinions gets no one anyone.
        As far as the law coming from slavery days, doesn’t change the fact that it now applies to anyone in the process of a crime.
        They had good reason to believe he was in the process of a crime which is why they called the police.
        Clearly self defense

        1. Shadow of a doubt? No, full on nighttime and penumbra – innocence, assault and battery by the perp in an attempt to thwart a security action against a suspicious suspect casing a neighborhood, resisting arrest, guilty as sin. Clearly “Not Guilty.”

        2. Steaming BS. And a warning for everybody with a brain that the ‘conservative’ demographic can concel creeps and narratives as dangerous as within the left/

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