There appeared to be further confirmation that the white man who shot and killed a Black jogger in Georgia in what has been described as a modern-day lynching is a raging racist, according to testimony at his bond hearing on Thursday.
Travis McMichael, who, along with his father and their friend allegedly racially profiled Ahmaud Arbery before arming themselves and hunting him down with the intent to kill him under false pretenses, was described as a raging racist by the defense’s witnesses as well as the prosecution in court in Brunswick, Georgia. The “best friend” of McMichael — Zachary Lincoln — admitted under oath that the two of them “exchanged text messages littered with racist tropes and ugly stereotypes about African-Americans and Asians,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But civil rights attorney Lee Merritt was live-tweeting the court proceeding and filled in the blanks for people who were unable to watch the bond hearing being streamed live online. Merritt tweeted that the contents of the text thread in question referred to “slant eye fucks” and “crackhead gold-teeth wearing” Black people. The revelation was the latest evidence that McMichael likely had racist motivations in ging after Arbery, who was 25 when he was confronted by McMichel’s father Gregory, their friend William “Roddie” Bryan and Travis McMichael in February.
Bryan, whose bond has already been denied, played a major role in Arbery’s death as he filmed the deadly episode before “leaking” the footage to the media in hopes of availing himself of any wrongdoing. Instead, he was also arrested and charged with Arbery’s murder. That was seemingly the only thing that prompted Bryan told investigators that Travis McMichael called Arbery a “fucking nigger” after shooting the jogger three times at close range with a shotgun.
The bond hearing was scheduled to continue Friday, but the prosecution was able to all but establish Travis McMichael as a potential flight risk because of his survival skills in the wilderness and the unanswered question of how he and his co-defendants — none of whom are employed — were able to retain what Merritt referred to as ” some of the highest priced attorneys in the state of Georgia.”
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, also took the stand and testified that McMichaels’ bond should be denied.
“Mothers protect their children. I wasn’t given the opportunity to protect my son,” she said in court. “These men are as dangerous today as they were on Feb. 23 (the day her son was killed).”
Defense attorneys have maintained that there is no evidence of racial animus and that Arbery was not only jogging that fateful day.
Arbery was out for one of his routine jogs in Brunswick on the afternoon of Feb. 23 when he was racially profiled by the McMichaels, who suspected him without proof of being a burglar. The two of them grabbed their guns, jumped in a pickup truck and drove after Arbery before pulling in front of him. Bryan’s vehicle trailed the McMichaels’ and, while filming the whole thing, he used his truck to trap Arbery in between the two vehicles. As Arbery tried to run past the McMichaels’ truck, Travis McMichael got out and shot him in broad daylight in the middle of a road.
The McMichaels were finally arrested on May 7, nearly three months after they killed Arbery. Bryan was arrested two weeks later. All three were indicted by a grand jury last month on malice and felony murder charges as well as aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
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