Prosecutor challenges assailant over whether Arbery posed a threat

BRUNSWICK, Georgia – A prosecutor’s cross-examination of Travis McMichael, the man who killed Ahmaud Arbery, raised questions on Thursda...


BRUNSWICK, Georgia – A prosecutor’s cross-examination of Travis McMichael, the man who killed Ahmaud Arbery, raised questions on Thursday over the accused’s claim that Mr. Arbery posed a threat to him, and revealed social media posts Mr McMichael made prior to the murder in which he called the crime suspects “vermin”.

The questioning took place on the 10th and final day of testimony at trial in the small coastal town of Brunswick, where dozens of black preachers and civil rights activists gathered to support the family of Mr. Arbery, a black man 25 years old. who was killed in February 2020. Protesters also protested against an attempt by one of the defense attorneys, Kevin Gough, to ban from the courtroom prominent black activists, including Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson, who have at several times appeared alongside members of Mr. Arbery’s family in the gallery.

Mr. McMichael, 35, was the only one of three white men charged in the murder case to testify. His lawyers argued that he was fulfilling a “duty and responsibility” to his family and his neighborhood by prosecuting Mr. Arbery, whom he believed to be a suspicious figure in a neighborhood plagued by concern. regarding property crimes.

Defense lawyers argue that Mr. McMichael, along with the other two men – Travis’ father Gregory McMichael, 65, and their neighbor William Bryan, 52 – were making a lawful arrest and that Travis McMichael acted in self-defense by shooting Mr. Arbery with a shotgun at close range.

Linda Dunikoski, the senior prosecutor, began her questioning Thursday by giving Mr. McMichael a transcript of his initial testimony to police. She pointed out a number of inconsistencies in her various accounts of how the three men, who were in a pair of vans, chased Mr. Arbery as he ran through their neighborhood.

It sparked a series of questions that seemed designed to raise doubts as to whether Mr. Arbery, who was unarmed, posed a legitimate threat. “Did Mr. Arbery put his hand in his pockets?” She asked and continued in that vein: Did he scream? Threaten you? Weapons brandished? Firearm? Knife?

To each of them, Mr. McMichael replied no.

“Did he just run?” ” she asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

Mr. McMichael testified on Wednesday that Mr. Arbery seized Mr. McMichael’s shotgun. But on Thursday Ms Dunikoski noted that he had told an investigator in a previous interview that he couldn’t recall whether Mr Arbery grabbed him or not.

Counsel for Mr. McMichael argued that his training while in the US Coast Guard gave him an understanding of the concept of “probable cause” and that he had probable reasons to believe that Mr. Arbery was. a burglar, although Mr Arbery, who had repeatedly visited a partially built house in the neighborhood, was never seen to take anything away from it.

Ms Dunikoski argued that the three men had no “immediate knowledge” that a crime had been committed.

“Isn’t it true from your training that you need two parts of probable cause?” She asked Thursday. “You need a probable cause that a crime has actually been committed – and that the person you’re arresting is actually the one who committed the crime.”

“That’s right,” replied Mr. McMichael.

Ms Dunikoski also noted that Mr McMichael had made a number of statements about crime and self-defense on social media. In an online article, on the topic of crime in the neighborhood, he said his father “doesn’t care about going to jail.” He added, “Damn, I’m getting like this”, and told a neighbor he hoped the perpetrators of a crime she described would be arrested, calling the perpetrators “vermin”.

Outside the courthouse on Thursday afternoon, black pastors and others from across the country, including Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson, marched through the streets. When they arrived at a mural of Mr. Arbery, his aunt, Diane Arbery Jackson, addressed the group and asked the walkers to continue praying for her family.

Defense attorneys also called six residents of the Satilla Shores neighborhood where Mr. Arbery was killed on Thursday, each of whom described concerns about property crimes in the neighborhood, a key to the argument over wide of lawyers that the community was “on edge” when security cameras began to film Mr. Arbery touring the house under construction.

Sube Lawrence, one of the witnesses, said she felt “raped” by the crime. In tears, she said she was upset that her children couldn’t grow up in such a safe neighborhood as the one she grew up in.

Earlier today, Ms Dunikoski requested permission to speak to the jury about Mr Bryan’s claim that Mr McMichael used a racist slur moments after his confrontation with Mr Arbery. But before the judge could rule on the matter, the defense had finished its evidence and Ms Dunikoski refused her right to present rebuttal witnesses.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Prosecutor challenges assailant over whether Arbery posed a threat
Prosecutor challenges assailant over whether Arbery posed a threat
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