How the killing of Ahmaud Arbery further exposes America's broken and racist legal system

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The shooting of a man who was 'running while Black' has prompted calls for racial justice in the US Annie Polite, 87, leads a protest march outside the Glynn...
Photograph: Stephen B Morton/AP

For many observers the high-profile case of the three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year old Black man who was out jogging, revealed the racist ways that the American legal system has been designed to treat Black people differently.

Last February, Arbery was killed while out jogging in the coastal town of Satilla Shores, Georgia. None of the men involved were charged until eyewitness footage was made public months later, shortly before the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, prompting widespread protests.

Three white men, Gregory McMichael, 67, his 35-year old son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 52, pursued Arbery, claiming they suspected his involvement in a series of burglaries in the neighborhood. The McMichaels, both carrying firearms, attempted to corner Arbery in a roadway using their truck before the younger McMichael fired three times with a shotgun.

The men were charged with murder, aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, counts to which they have all pleaded not guilty.

A court has now found all three guilty of murder.

Here are some of the ways the trial touched on race and racism in the US, often echoing America's segregated past as well as modern day prejudice.

Black people face danger for doing ordinary things

Arbery's killing highlighted the dangers that Black Americans can face doing entirely ordinary things that white people can perceive as a threat. They can range from bird watching, to showing a house for sale to swimming.

Arbery, a former high school football standout, loved to run. On 23 February last year, he was unarmed and out jogging through his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, when he was tracked by the McMichaels and Bryan before being gunned down.

Relying on a defunct civil war-era law that deputizes citizens to police the movements of Black bodies and carry out citizen's arrests of suspected criminals, the…
Maya Yang
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