Despite objections from a defense attorney representing one of the men accused of murder in Arbery’s slaying, Rev. Al Sharpton said he plans to continue providing courtroom support to the family of Ahmaud Arbery, the young Black man who was killed while jogging through a subdivision just outside of Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020.
“I believe that’s intimidating and it’s an attempt to pressure… or influence the jury,” Kevin Gough told Glynn County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley in court on Thursday, Nov. 11.
The lawyer represents William “Roddie” Bryan, the white guy who recorded Arbery’s murder on his cellphone. Bryan, as well as father-son pair Gregory and Travis McMichael, are all charged with murder in the case, and Sharpton was in the courtroom on Wednesday to watch the proceedings at the request of Arbery’s parents.
“There’s only so many preachers they can have,” Gough protested to the judge during the lunch break on Thursday, alluding to the family’s invitation of Sharpton. “We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here,” he added, “nor any Jesse Jackson or whatever was in here earlier this week.”
“The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough in asking a judge to bar me or any minister of the family’s choice underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need of spiritual and community support,” Sharpton said when asked about Gough’s statements.
“Now you want to take away not only their son, but also those of us who would come to console them,” he continued. Clearly now… “How can they know the difference between a Black pastor and a non-Black pastor?” it was addressed at me.
Instead, in the wake of Gough’s remarks, Sharpton encouraged “CLERGY ACROSS ECUMENICAL LINES” to meet him outside the Glynn County Courthouse on Thursday, Nov. 18, at noon or lunch break.
CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER REV. AL SHARPTON CALLS FOR CLERGY ACROSS ECUMENICAL LINES TO MEET HIM THURSDAY OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE IN GLYNN COUNTY, GEORGIA, IN THE FACE OF DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ATTEMPTING TO BAN BLACK PASTORS FROM COURT.
The Fight for Ahmaud Arbery’s Justice Continues photo
November 12, 2021 — Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl)
“The fact that nobody even noticed [Sharpton] was in here means that everyone complied with this court’s rules,” Walmsley cautioned Gough, adding, “The fact that nobody even realized [Sharpton] was in here implies that everybody complied with this court’s rulings.” I’m not going to exclude the general population outright.”
Gough, too, was unable to attract allies for his intimidation scheme. The defense attorney for the younger McMichael, Jason Sheffield, told reporters that he was aware of Sharpton’s presence but that he was “not a distraction.”
“My apologies to anyone who could have accidentally been offended,” Gough said to the court before the day’s proceedings began on Friday, one week after the trial began, in response to the uproar his statements had provoked.