As the prosecution in the Ahmaud Arbery trial made its closing arguments on Monday, the trial took a shocking turn.
According to the Washington Examiner, prosecutors spent their final moments trying to convince the jury that the three white men involved in Arbery’s death decided to chase the 25-year-old Black man down and fatally shoot him because of his skin color.
In a wildly contrasting perception of the events, the defense argued to the jury that the man who pulled the trigger, Travis McMichael, had a right to defend himself in the heated moment when he and Arbery scuffled over his firearm.
To summarize the events that took place on that day, it was revealed throughout the trial that a group of three men — who happen to be white — were suspicious of Arbery jogging through their neighborhood, claiming that there was evidence that Arbery had stolen goods from a construction site previous to the fatal shooting event.
In February 2020, McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, spotted Arbery in their neighborhood and gave chase.
“The father and son duo, who have close ties with local law enforcement, chased and cornered Arbery before Travis McMichael opened fire,” the Examiner noted.
Travis McMichael, who took the stand to defend himself last week, said when he encountered Arbery, he allegedly “charged” at him in front of his truck, which Travis McMichael said forced him to make a life-and-death decision to shoot and kill Arbery.
“You are allowed to defend yourself,” Jason Sheffield, the defense attorney for Travis McMichael, told the jury Monday. “You are allowed to use force that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if you believe it’s necessary. At that moment, Travis believed it was necessary.”
Prosecutors in the case, who have been widely praised for their methodical cross-examination, attempted to paint a picture of the men purposely running Arbery down without hard evidence that he’d stolen anything, adding that even if he did, such a response would require local law enforcement and not vigilante action.
The prosecution went on to insist that the unnecessary confrontation was based on gossip, hate, and hearsay — and because Arbery was a Black man.
“They made the decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a black man running down their street,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski argued. “They shot and killed him not because he was a threat to them but because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them.”
Prosecutors will make their last rebuttal argument on Tuesday morning before the case is sent to the jury for deliberations.