by Lauren Victoria Burke/NNPA Newswire

Late on May 7, Greg and Travis McMichael were finally arrested.

Late on May 7, Greg and Travis McMichael were finally arrested.

Months after the U.S. House passed a new lynching law, which has been held up by the Republican led U.S. Senate, and a day after investigative journalist Ida B. Wells was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize — a lynching story dated Feb. 23 was in the news.

But the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, didn’t go viral on social media on May 6, months after his murder. The video shows Arbery jogging down a street in Brunswick, Georgia. It appears to demonstrate the involvement of three men — two on a pickup truck and another filming the scene from behind.

Arbery’s death took place on Feb. 23 about three miles from where he lived. Arbery was an avid jogger and played football.

The two men on the pickup truck were identified through numerous media reports as Greg McMichael, a retired investigator in the Brunswick District Attorney’s office, and his son Travis McMichael. They appear to follow Arbery from behind as he is jogging down a suburban street. Travis McMichael, the alleged shooter, is seen confronting Arbery and part of a struggle ensues in and outside of the camera’s range.  The sound of shotgun fire is heard. Arbery is then seen on video collapsing after the sound of the gunshot in front of the truck.

Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself because one of the men seen in the video of the fatal shooting pointing a gun at Arbery worked in the district attorney’s office.

During an exclusive interview on “Roland Martin Unfiltered” on May 7,  Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones said there had been no support to get to the truth related to her son’s death. That is changing. Now that the video has been widely seen, everyone from LeBron James to former Vice President Biden and President Trump has commented on Arbery’s death.

“Initially I was told there was a burglary and a struggle over a firearm,” Cooper-Jones said on Roland Martin Unfiltered. She confirmed she has not watched the video of her son’s death but the description of it from others did not line up with what authorities told her after her son died.

“I need to get these men indicted. They need to go to jail. Two months has been too long,” said Jones on Martin’s show answering a question from Dr. Gregg Carr, the Chairman of the African American Studies Department at Howard University.

Late on May 7, Greg and Travis McMichael were finally arrested.

The Congressional Black Caucus had demanded arrests the day before and released a statement that in part read, “the killing of Ahmaud Arbery shows us that the spirit of lynching is still alive and well in our nation and something that we cannot tolerate.”

“The scary thing for me is the they thought the video would help his client. The culture is so backwards down there they actually thought that,” said Arbery family attorney Lee Merritt on Roland Martin Unfiltered. The case has widely been compared to the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida by George Zimmerman.

“What happened to #AhmaudArbery is a MODERN DAY LYNCHING. This February, the House overwhelmingly passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would make lynching a federal crime,” wrote Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)

South Carolina Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott wrote, “ Every.single.time. The excuses pour in – ‘he looked suspicious’… ‘we thought he was committing a crime”…The fact remains, #AhmaudArbery was hunted down from a pickup truck and murdered in cold blood. My heart breaks for his family, and justice must be served.”

Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, Arbery was “shot down in cold blood,” and his killing reflected a “rising pandemic of hate.”

“AhmaudArbery should still be alive right now. This is tragic and unacceptable. It should ignite us all in demands for justice. I’m calling on the Department of Justice to investigate. We need justice for Ahmaud and his family,” wrote Sen. Cory Booker on twitter.

Now Breonna . . . 26-year-old Kentucky EMT Murdered for Sleeping While Black

“There is absolutely no reason Breonna Taylor should be dead.”

On March 13, Breonna Taylor was killed in her Louisville, Ky., home by police officers. The 26-year-old EMT was sleeping when they broke down her door and invaded her home with a no-knock warrant. 

Police claim they announced themselves before forcing their way in, but witnesses say the police did not identify themselves. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he believed they were being robbed and fired a gun at police, striking one officer in the leg. Police responded with a hail of gunfire. The police shot Taylor, who was unarmed, at least eight times, killing her. They then arrested and charged Walker with attempted murder of a police officer.

The police say they were looking for evidence against a suspect in an ongoing narcotics investigation. That suspect lives 10 miles from Taylor’s home. No drugs were found in her apartment. Additionally, a surviving witness to her death, her boyfriend, is able to contradict the police’s version of events.

The Taylor case is garnering national attention because she was an EMT, a person helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines, whose only crime was sleeping while Black. Her family has retained civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and launched a civil lawsuit against Louisville police. Crump also represents the family of Ahmaud Abery, last seen being lynched by two White guys in a truck. 

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-K.Y) is even speaking out about the Taylor shooting. In an exclusive statement to The Courier Journal, Rand said “No one should lose their life in pursuit of a crime without a victim, and ‘no-knock’ warrants should be forbidden,” Paul said. “Let’s hope the investigation provides justice.”

Taylor’s family has filed a civil lawsuit that states Walker thought someone was breaking into the apartment, and that’s why he fired back in self-defense. Official documents also showed neither Taylor nor Walker had a history of drugs or violence.

“Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, there is absolutely no reason Breonna Taylor should be dead,” attorney Ben Crump said. “Killed in a hail of bullets from your police officers.” 

A group of Louisville Kentucky faith leaders is calling for three Louisville Metro Police officers to face criminal prosecution for their roles in the shooting death Taylor.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove are on administrative reassignment following the March 13 shooting–standard procedure in all shootings involving police.

A statement made by Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition President Rev. Frank M. Smith Jr., was a departure from the group’s previous statement, which stopped short of calling for criminal charges against the officers.

“We believe that to heed our call will send a clear message to this community and this nation that you are serious about correcting the prevailing problem of excessive deadly force,” Smith said during an online news conference. “We ask that you do what is right, and that you do it now.”

And now, according to media reports, the Louisville Police Department is under investigation for allegedly falsifying an affidavit.

According to the affidavit, officers believed Taylor was an accomplice to local narcotics suspect Jamarcus Glover, and that Glover was sending packages to Taylor’s apartment. Police asked for a “no-knock” search warrant, allowing them to enter Taylor’s home without knocking, writing in the warrant that they had “verified through a US Postal Inspector that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages” at Taylor’s home. 

However, a U.S. postal inspector in Louisville told a Louisville news station that LMPD didn’t use his office to verify that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment. Postal inspector Tony Gooden told WDRB that a different agency had asked in January to look into whether Taylor’s home was receiving suspicious mail, but that the office had concluded it wasn’t. 

“There’s no packages of interest going there,” said Gooden, according to media reports.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

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