This is a guest post by RJ Garner:
See the original post here: https://rjgarnerauthor2.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/regarding-ahmad-arbery/
A lot of assumptions have been made about the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. I’m assuming you’ve at least seen the cell phone video of the shooting. If not you can see it here.
This article will be a bit longer, especially if you watch the included videos, but if you really want to learn more about this case then take the time and do your homework. If you don’t have the time, that’s fine, but at least do the world a favor by acknowledging that you haven’t done any research on it and that you’re unqualified to make an educated guess about what happened.
Having said that, let’s get into it. The initial story that the mainstream media (MSM) ran with was that Ahmaud Arbery was simply out for a jog when 2 racist hillbillies mistook him for a burglar and chased him down and shot him in cold blood.
I will demonstrate why there is far more to the story than that. That narrative seemed far fetched to begin with, not just because the MSM routinely lies and twists stories to stir up racial animus, but because these weren’t just 2 uneducated hillbillies who were out for vigilante justice and didn’t know the law.
The father, Gregory McMichael, had been a police officer for 7 years before becoming an investigator in the Glynn County District Attorney’s office for 24 years. This guy knew the law, he wasn’t an out of control redneck bent on eradicating all black people from his neighborhood.
Speaking of the law, let’s look at what the Georgia law actually is regarding citizens arrests.
Georgia Code Title 17 Criminal Procedure 17-4-60 says – “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.”
The next paragraph even allows a citizen to physically take the person to the nearest judicial officer.
So what does that mean? As I interpret this it means 2 things. #1 if the citizen observes an offense – ANY offense – or it happens within his immediate knowledge, he is allowed to arrest. If it doesn’t happen within his immediate knowledge or presence, but the offense is a felony, reasonable grounds of suspicion is all that is required to make an arrest. The bar is lower for felonies because the severity of the crime is more than that of a misdemeanor.
So what do we have in this case? Did Arbery commit a felony or any crime at all? It would appear that at minimum he may have committed the offense of Criminal Trespass.
“A person commits the offense of Criminal Trespass when he or she knowingly and without authority enters upon the land or premises of another person or into any part of any vehicle railroad car, aircraft or watercraft of another person for an unlawful purpose.”
There is both surveillance video that shows Arbery entering a house that is not his which is still under construction as well as a fact eye witness who calls 911.
Here is the video that shows a man wearing identical clothing and in every meaningful way appears to be Arbery. Arberys aunt also confirmed that it’s him in the video.
Here is another video from across the street that shows him enter the house through the open garage door. It also shows the neighbor walk out onto his front lawn and call 911. A few minutes later the man resembling Arbery takes off running from the house. A few minutes after that is when police and ambulances begin arriving on the scene of the shooting.
Now, these videos apparently don’t show that Arbery stole anything inside the house, so the attorneys are going to argue as to what Arbery’s intent was inside the house. Unfortunately the video of the inside of the house only shows a few seconds of what Arbery did while he was inside. The full video is apparently 3 minutes long. Does the full video show him snooping around looking for items to steal? Or does it show him simply walking around with his hands in his pockets looking at the floor plan out of curiosity? I guess we won’t know unless a full video is released. I will say that I’ve taken countless reports at construction sites of people stealing copper, appliances, tools, lumber, shingles and other building material. Construction sites are actually some of the highest crime areas because there are often times no walls, doors or locks to secure property.
The initial 911 caller that is seen walking out onto his lawn reports that the man had illegally entered the house and that “this is kind of an ongoing thing around here.”
Arbery apologists will say the last reported break in was 7 weeks prior so there was no “ongoing” issue of burglaries.
But reported crime doesn’t always tell the whole story. I can’t count the number of burglary and theft reports I’ve taken where the victim says “this also happened 2 months ago and I didn’t report it then but since it’s happened again I decided to report it.” Yet they told their neighbors about the first crime so the neighborhood knows even though the police don’t.
Sometimes people don’t bother reporting crime if there is no known suspect information or other leads to follow because they feel it will be a waste of the police’s time and their time.
Regardless, the 911 caller was under the impression that there was an ongoing problem. And even if there had never been a crime in this city, it’s not unreasonable to think that a person entering property that doesn’t belong to them may be intending to steal something.
Apparently just seconds later Gregory McMichael, whose house is very close to the house that’s under construction (establishing the offense occurred within his presence or immediate knowledge), also called 911. Audio of both 911 calls can be heard here.
Gregory appears to be in hot pursuit of Arbery and yells “stop” and is so preoccupied with pursuing Arbery that he can’t answer the 911 operator’s questions. You can also hear him yell to his son Travis, apparently to enlist his help. I would assume the shooting occurs seconds or minutes later.
So that’s a lot of information so far, let’s review what we have. We have 3 separate people who have seen Arbery enter the house at this point. The original 911 caller who lives across the street from the unfinished house, the owner of the house (Larry English) who was alerted on his phone that someone had entered his property, and presumably the McMichaels.
All 3 parties are on the same page that whoever had entered the house was worth investigating.
All 3 parties are on the same page that Arbery may have been inside the house with the intent to steal. It’s not an unreasonable belief especially for an ex cop and investigator.
So that brings us to the actual shooting itself. At this point it’s my opinion that the McMichaels meet both criteria for making a citizens arrest, which again allows for the citizen to physically take the suspect to an officer if need be. It was reasonable for them to believe that an offense had just occurred in their presence or their immediate knowledge. It is also reasonable to have suspicion that a burglary (felony) may have just occurred. This is what will be argued in court. That’s why a court of law is necessary instead of just the court of public opinion.
As more facts and evidence are reviewed that none of us are privy to, such as the full security video and the statements from the McMichaels about why they believed Arbery to be the suspect in an offense, things could change. Again, this is why no one should be making snap judgements about someone’s guilt (or innocence).
So we have 2 citizens (Gregory and Travis McMichael) attempting to make a citizens arrest and William Bryan, who is allegedly a friend of the McMichaels, filming the incident with his phone.
If it was the intent of the McMichaels to go kill a black man in cold blood would they have called police first? Would they have had a friend film it? Let’s think reasonably here.
According the the responding officer’s report, the McMichaels said they told Arbery to stop and wait for police and he ignored them and kept running.
The video shows the pickup truck parked in the street, what appears to be an attempted roadblock, although a poor one as there is plenty of room to run around the truck.
And that’s exactly what Arbery does. He runs right along the side of the truck. Neither of the McMichaels make a move to detain him or put hands on him. A gun is not pointed at Arbery. It appears as though they are going to just watch him run right past them.
The next part will be the most crucial one of the whole case. Arbery, after running past the McMichaels, then makes a 90 degree left turn and then lunges at Travis McMichael and they begin wrestling over the shotgun. It appears that Arbery is striking Travis McMichael with punches to the head.
The camera becomes shaky and the tussle over the shotgun occurs out of the cameras view. You hear a shot, a couple of seconds pass then another shot, a couple of more seconds pass and then a final shot. Arbery disengages from Travis and then attempts to run again and then collapses.
The autopsy report showed that Arbery sustained a gunshot wound to the hand which would be consistent with someone grabbing the business end of the barrel when the gun went off, as well as at least one gunshot wound to the abdomen.
The original DA who has since recused himself from the case over unfounded allegations of bias made another good point. If a man’s finger is inside the trigger guard and someone starts to pull the shotgun away from you and you attempt to pull the shotgun back to retain it, it’s quite possible that the gun could go off even if your intention wasn’t to shoot. Again, these are questions that haven’t been asked and answers that haven’t been waited for. Here’s the original DA’s letter.
Based on the facts we do have, here’s why I don’t think there’s probable cause to charge these men with murder much less prove it behind a reasonable doubt: let’s say for instance they were completely wrong about Arbery and he really was just jogging (in cargo shorts) and he really did just stop inside the unfinished house to admire the handiwork and he never had intention of stealing anything.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument all of that is true. By what legal right did Arbery have to attempt to disarm someone of their gun who is legally carrying it in an open carry state? Travis McMichael had not threatened him, had not pointed the gun at him, had not tried to tackle him, nothing.
Arbery of course isn’t on trial here but let’s pretend that he was successful in disarming Travis McMichael and then shot him with the gun. By what law would this have been justified? That he had a reasonable fear for his life because 2 men were asking him to stop and wait for the police to come after he had just been inside a home that isn’t his? Does that sound reasonable?
Matt Walsh, in his incessant virtue signaling, has said that men go into homes under construction all the time just to see what things look like.
OK cool, but if you did that and then you notice the next door neighbor on the phone with the police, what would your reaction be? Would a guilty person stop and try to explain themselves to the neighbor and calm their fears? Or would they take off like Usain Bolt and then attempt to take the gun away from someone trying to detain them?
Which set of behaviors seems more consistent with someone who knows that they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar?
Sorry but “a black man always has cause to fear for his life in white neighborhoods” might have held water in the 1960s but it doesn’t today.
And here’s where the argument usually goes…and I’m asking you to think deeper with me, the argument becomes “even if he was trespassing he doesn’t deserve to be shot in the street like a wild animal”. Agreed! Let’s think deeper than that. That’s an emotional response not a logical one. If Arbery had run right past the McMichaels and they had shot him in the back I’d be fully on board with them being charged with murder. But that’s not what happened. Arbery initiated the physical confrontation and escalated it to a deadly force situation when he attempted to disarm a man who was legally carrying a gun in an open carry state. No one is saying Arbery deserved to die for trespassing. But what was Travis McMichael supposed to do? Let Arbery take the shotgun from him? Arbery made the decision to attack Travis and bears the responsibility for everything that happened thereafter.
So to sum it all up you have the McMichaels attempting to make what appears to be a legal and valid citizens arrest of Arbery who we know for a fact was trespassing, and Arbery attempted to disarm Travis McMichael and got shot. I’m not sure how you get murder charges out of that but maybe there is more evidence we aren’t privy to at this time.
Lastly I want to address the racial aspect of this and the unbearable, incessant virtue signaling of…well frankly almost everyone but especially evangelical celebrities.
Let’s say the McMichaels were completely out of line and guilty of murder. Great, fantastic. What makes them racists exactly other than the fact that they’re white and he’s black? Is that all the evidence needed for people, and especially Christians, to accuse someone of racism these days? Is there ANY evidence in the history of the McMichaels that shows them to have been racist or even sympathize with racists? Is there ANY evidence that if Arbery was white that we would be looking at a different outcome? Sure you can make your assumptions that they would have treated a white guy differently but what EVIDENCE do you have of that? Last I checked Christians need some proof, something about 2 or more witnesses, to accuse someone of a sin including the sin of partiality. Or is white shooter + black victim evidence enough of racism now?
To close this article I’d like to say that it’s possible the McMichaels are indeed guilty of murder. Some new information may come forward that shows their intent all along was to kill Arbery. But based on the evidence we do have today, I don’t see how murder charges are appropriate. This was a clear case of self defense from 2 guys making a valid citizens arrest, based on what we know. So please, I implore you, be humble enough to say that you don’t know right now. Be humble enough to admit that you don’t have access to all the facts yet. Be humble enough to acknowledge that you could be wrong, as I have at the start of this paragraph. Don’t pretend that a 20 second video and a tweet from LeBron James is all the proof you need to send 2 men to prison for the rest of their lives. Give these men their day in court. The last time I checked you are presumed innocent in this country until proven guilty in a court of law. This is America. Let’s start acting like it.