WTVM Editorial 5-14-20: Ahmaud deserves justice

Updated: May. 14, 2020 at 2:29 PM EDT
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(WTVM) - Last Friday, May 8th would have been Ahmaud Arbery’s 26th birthday. The prime of life for any young man. But instead of celebrating his birthday, Ahmaud’s family is grieving and angry after he was shot to death while jogging in a Savannah suburb.

By now you’ve probably seen the viral video. What the video shows is extremely alarming: Ahmaud is casually jogging, and then he tries to run around a truck with two men, stopped in the road.

Out of camera range there’s a struggle between Ahmaud and a man believed to be Travis McMichael, and somehow the shotgun Travis holds is fired three times.

This video emerged the other day sparking immediate protests.

It became obvious that Ahmaud’s case deserved justice back in February, when it happened. On Ahmaud’s birthday, charges were brought against Travis and his father, Gregory McMichael.

Arrests took so long because three prosecutors have now worked on this case.

The first two recused themselves because of long-standing connections to the alleged shooter’s family. But not before deciding that McMichael and his father, a former court investigator, were lawfully carrying their guns and could lawfully conduct a citizen’s arrest.

Only there’s a big problem with that. To perform a real citizen’s arrest in Georgia the crime must happen in front of another person and if you make a citizen’s arrest, you can only use the amount of force necessary to keep the suspect on scene until police show up.

There was certainly no crime happening at that time, even though the McMichaels told 911 about neighborhood burglaries.

Now, because of the arrests, the shooters will get a trial and, hopefully, Ahmaud will get justice.

So far, in this editorial, I haven’t specifically mentioned that Ahmaud is black and the men now charged in his slaying are white.

Those details shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately, those details do matter.

If Ahmaud was profiled by the accused just because he was black, that is beyond reprehensible. But if Ahmaud was shot dead just because he was black, that is murder and a hate crime.

The McMichaels will now get their day in court.

Meanwhile, Ahmaud’s family deserves to know why their son is dead.

This case should remind the courts in Georgia of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote: “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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