Rev. Jesse Jackson joins Arbery family in Brunswick to show support

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 3:46 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 9:48 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - Tension in the courtroom Monday morning as Civil Rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson sat with Ahmaud Arbery’s family for the first time during the trial.

Defense Attorney Kevin Gough objected to the reverend’s presence in the court.

Reverend Jackson says it is his constitutional right and moral obligation to be in court with the family. Remember last week, Gough objected when Rev. Al Sharpton was sitting with the family in court and said he didn’t want any more “Black pastors” in the courtroom and named Jackson as an example.

The defense called for a mistrial partially because of Jackson’s presence. The judge denied the request.

Jackson said he’s telling Arbery’s mother in court to hold on. Jackson calls the defense’s objection Friday a diversion.

He says the defense is making this about race, but it’s not Black and white, it’s right and wrong.

“I’m sitting with the family. I don’t know the jurors. I don’t know any of them. I don’t know any of them and if my presence reaffirms the innocence of the young man who was killed...I sat for him,” Rev. Jackson said.

In response to Gough’s comments, the Transformative Justice Coalition, a group that’s been supporting the Arbery family, has put out a call for Black pastors across the country to show up this week. The group’s co-leader Barbara Arnwine says they have the right to freedom of religion and can have as many pastors there as they want.

“It’s foundational. We have the right of peaceful assembly. We have the right of freedom of expression. We have a right just like you do of freedom of the press,” Arnwine said.

Arnwine says the judge was right to remind the defense their own comments have an impact on the jury. Arnwine also says she wants everyone to find it in their hearts to pray for the family.

The Transformative Justice Coalition says at least 100 Black pastors will be here for a rally and march into the community this Thursday. They say they want all Black pastors and allies to show up.

Meanwhile, Jackson said his main concern is still the makeup of the jury, with 11 white and one Black juror.

He said he plans to keep sitting with the family throughout the trial and he said his support will continue even after it’s over.

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