Crowds gather outside Glynn Co. courthouse in support of Ahmaud Arbery’s family

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:32 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - Outside of the courthouse for the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial, crowds gathered for hours saying they want to see justice served.

It’s a much different scene than last week. Since closing arguments started Monday morning, people have been outside chanting and marching around the courthouse.

Some people WTOC spoke with say they are calling attention to what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, but also what’s happened to other people they believe have been killed “unjustly.” Some members from The New Black Panther party say Black people across the country will not accept a “not guilty” verdict, so justice needs to be served.

Barricades have also been up since Thursday in an attempt to control crowds.

This is a protest that’s different than what we’ve seen over the past week. An artist had a casket with the names of primarily Black people he says have been killed without “provocation or justification.”

Inside the casket, speakers are playing a song called “Ahmaud.” They say the message is all about Ahmaud Arbery being a Black man jogging, unarmed and minding his business, when he’s assaulted and killed under the guise of citizen’s arrest. They say the message is not about hate, it’s about having your voice heard.

“This could be your family’s name or your son or your daughter on this casket right here. Ahmaud, George Floyd, Derek Sky, the names go on and on and on,” said musician Darrell Kelley.

This didn’t go over well with defense attorney Kevin Gough, who said in court that the names of the defendants were on the casket. WTOC looked at the casket and those names are not on it. Gough wanted the court record to reflect that the casket, along with the rallies outside of the courthouse, have an impact on the jury.

“I don’t know whether they intended to scare the defendants, but I have co-counsel with a small child who is scared to death. Large weapons, apparently automatic weapons, were seen outside the courthouse and given everything else that’s already transpired in this case, we believe at this point that it’s appropriate to renew the motion for a mistrial,” said Gough.

The judge denied that motion and the Kelley music group says the casket will continue to be at the courthouse until justice is served.

Family members say Monday was a tough day. Attorneys for Ahmaud’s family say they were personally rocked by comments made by the defense. At different times during the defense’s arguments, the family walked out of the courtroom.

They say the defendants assassinated their child, now they’re trying to assassinate his character. Arbery’s mom specifically mentioned defense lawyer Laura Hogues description of how Arbery looked on the day he died.

“She described Ahmaud as his long legs and his dirty long toenails. That was just beyond rude. Regardless of what kind of toenails he had or what kind of legs he had, that was still my son,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud’s mother.

“He didn’t grow up with nothing so the way they’re trying to characterize his name and try to make him look like that is hurting his mom and me. He growed up with everything he needed,” said Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud’s father.

Attorneys for the family said let it be clear, the people on trial are the McMichaels and Roddie Bryan, and the video speaks for itself. The attorneys also addressed people in the community who have been outside the courthouse protesting saying, “As we come near the end, the demonstrations are more bombastic.” He asks for those outside the courthouse to avoid interfering with the trial in the courtroom.

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