A private Facebook page titled “Justice For Gregory and Travis McMichael” is gaining major popularity with over 38,000 members as of Friday morning. The group’s description reads:
“These 2 God fearing men were only trying to protect their neighborhood. This area has had a string of break-ins and this man fit the description and did not comply with simple commands. Our hearts go out to the McMichael family in their time of need. Amen.”
The McMichael’s were arrested and taken into custody more than two months after they chased down a jogging Arbery — who they believed to be a neighborhood burglar — in their truck in Brunswick, Georgia. Graphic video of the incident, recorded by William “Roddie” Bryan, shows the McMichaels’ truck stopped in front of Arbery on a road and he clearly tries to run around the passenger’s side of the vehicle. However, Travis confronts Arbery and the two struggle with his shotgun before a gunshot is heard. The struggle continues when a second shot is heard. The whole time, a man who seems to be Gregory McMichael is standing in the back trunk of the truck and also appears to have a weapon in hand. The clip ends with a third shot and Ahmaud tries to run away before tumbling to the ground with fatal injuries.
After the video went viral, public outrage was immense with people calling for the McMichaels’ arrest despite a grand jury not being in session because of COVID-19 lockdowns.
On Thursday, Gregory and Travis were finally arrested and charged with murder by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. However, Bryan was not charged, despite leaders calling him out as a suspect. “William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, accomplice to Gregory and Travis McMichael, must now be arrested,” said Attorney Benjamin Crump in a Thursday tweet. “We urge officers to do so tonight.”
As soon as the McMichael’s faced national scrutiny, a GoFundMe page was also set up for the two, however, it has since been taken down.
Meanwhile, people in the Facebook support group have thrown around words like “race war” with imagery of a white person holding a gun. Some user have even accused “the Black, hispanics and no-racist whites” of infiltrating the group.
Facebook has a history of being criticized for how much White racism and bigotry they’ve allowed. For example, back in 2017 a U.S. congressman, Clay Higgins, wrote a Facebook post in which he called for the slaughter of “radicalized” Muslims. “Hunt them, identify them, and kill them,” he wrote. “Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”
Higgins’ post went untouched by Facebook workers who usually search the network to delete offensive speech. However, that same year a Boston poet and Black Lives Matter activist, Didi Delgado, made a post that caused a different response. “All white people are racist. Start from this reference point, or you’ve already failed,” the post read. It was removed and her Facebook account was disabled for seven days.
There’s no word on how Facebook will monitor the group for Gregory and Travis McMichael as the two await a grand jury hearing of their case.