LeBron James and Zoe Kravitz speak out after shocking video emerges of a black man being shot to death while on a jog

LeBron James and Zoe Kravitz speak out after shocking video emerges of a black man being shot to death while on a jog

On 23 February, 25-year-old African-American Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed after being confronted by a white man and his son, while out jogging in his local neighbourhood in Glynn County, Georgia.

No one was arrested for the crime.

Now, the emergence of a viral video appearing to depict Arbery’s shooting has sparked a social media campaign involving celebrities and politicians, calling for justice.

Why was Ahmaud Arbery killed?

According to police reports obtained by The New York Times, Arbery was shot by Travis McMichael after his father, Gregory, claimed Arbery looked like a man suspected of several break-ins in the area.

Gregory McMichael spotted Arbery running down the street and told his son: “Travis the guy is running down the street let’s go”. Travis McMichael then grabbed his .357 Magnum shotgun and the pair pursued Arbery in a white pick-up truck.

Video filmed by an unidentified witness shows the pick-up truck pulling up beside Arbery before Travis McMichael is seen struggling with the black man.

A shot is fired and Arbery and McMichael disappear from the frame.

A second shot is heard as they reappear and Arbery staggers away from McMichael, then collapses on the ground.

McMichael claims Arbery “violently attacked” him and he believed the jogger was armed. Arbery died at the scene and was not found to be carrying any weapon.

Why was no one arrested?

The NYTreported that the prosecutor for the Brunswick judicial district recused herself because Gregory McMichael was employed in her office.

George E Barnhill, district attorney in neighbouring Waycross also recused himself, but only after Arbery’s mother argued that he too had a conflict of interest: his son worked alongside McMichaelin the Brunswick office.

Before his recusal, Barnhill argued that there was not “sufficient probable cause” to arrest the McMichaels for Arbery’s death.

According to Barnhill, the pair were “legally” carrying their firearms and were within their rights to pursue a burglary suspect and allowed to use “deadly force” to protect themselves if Arbery attacked McMichael.

What happens now?

Arbery’s friends and family say he was an innocent man who loved to run and was killed unlawfully. Commentators have called the shooting “anti-black vigilantism”.

Protests have taken place in Brunswick, in response to Ahmaud's death.

Since video footage of the killing emerged and was shared – controversially – by activists online, pressure on prosecutors has stepped up. Celebrities and politicians have called for justice, with the likes of LeBron James, Zoe Kravitz, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren all condemning the lack of arrests in the case.

"We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!” James wrote in an emotional Twitter post, alongside a photo of Arbery.

Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud(Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!! #StayWoke #ProfiledCauseWeAreSimplyBlack

Presidential candidate Biden said Arbery had been “murdered in cold blood” and demanded a “full, and transparent investigation into his murder”.

On Tuesday, Tom Durden, an outside prosecutor assigned to the case said he wants a grand jury to decide whether to continue with criminal charges against the McMichaels.

"I am of the opinion that the case should be presented to the grand jury of Glynn County for consideration of criminal charges against those involved in the death of Mr Arbery," he said.

However, despite Georgia lifting lockdown early, the courts remain “largely closed”, meaning the case is unlikely to proceed until early June.

For a grieving family, answers seem unbearably far on the horizon.

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