On Wednesday, jury selection for the trial of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the three men accused of assassinating Ahmaud Arbery, came to an end (Nov. 3). The 12-person panel, according to CNN and other sites, consists of one Black individual and 11 white members.
Judge Timothy Walmsley admitted on Wednesday that the jury was mostly white and that the defense looked to be racially discriminating in jury selection, but he permitted the final panel to proceed regardless.
“This court has determined that there appears to be discrimination on purpose,” he stated.
Jury selection for the three men’s trial began almost two and a half weeks ago, according to REVOLT.
The defense had to explain why they chose to dismiss specific jurors, a process that CNN reports took more than two hours, with judge Walmsley eventually accepting their explanation.
“One of the issues, in this case, I believe counsel realized, is the racial overtones… This is sort of the continuation of a discourse about this case that I believe will go on for a long time,” Walmsley added.
In Georgia, the judge noted, “all the defense has to do is offer [a] genuine, nondiscriminatory, clear, reasonably precise, and connected rationale” for excluding possible jurors, which he ruled they did.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told reporters that she was “shocked” that only one Black person would serve on the jury in her son’s murder trial.
She said, “I mean, that was devastating.”
Followers of the case on Twitter reacted to the jury selection as well.
“It’s not only that the trial of the three men accused of assassinating Ahmaud Arbery has only *one* Black juror. One individual tweeted, “It’s that the judge acknowledged the defense was utilizing *intentional discrimination* in jury selection and did nothing about it.”
“Today, one black juror and eleven white jurors were chosen to decide the fate of three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. A jury should be representative of the community, yet Black jurors were purposefully excluded to aid these cold-blooded assassins in eluding punishment!” Ben Crump, a human rights lawyer, contributed his two cents.
Malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment are all charges against the McMichaels and Bryan in Arbery’s death. The three men also face federal accusations of attempted kidnapping, hate crime, and the McMichaels’ use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Last February, a white father, and son pursued and shot Arbery, as their next-door neighbor Bryant filmed the action and blocked the Black 25-year-old with his truck.