The defense attorneys representing Greg and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan appear to be in a second competition with each other to prove who can do the best job of being as vile and racist as the white trash killers they are representing.
I mean, at this point, the leading attorney in that particular race has to be Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough, who has declared that “We don’t want any more Black pastors here,” compared the existence of those Black pastors to the KKK and to “public lynchings,” complained that the overwhelmingly white jury still doesn’t include enough “Bubbas and Joe six-packs,” and he joined the defense attorneys for the McMichaels in calling for a mistrial because Ahmaud Arbery’s mother cried in court—a common thing for parents who have to listen to the details of their sons’ or daughters’ deaths. (Of course, said parents would need to be white for this pack of Klan-ish lawyers to recognize their basic humanity.)
But during closing arguments on Monday, it was attorney Laura Hogue, who represents the elder McMichael, who apparently decided she wasn’t going to let Gough keep stealing her white supremacist shine, so in her closing statements, she decided to turn Arbery into a runaway slave trope by, for no apparent reason whatsoever outside of pure anti-Blackness, making comments about his “long, dirty toenails.”
“Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts, with no socks to cover his long dirty toenails,” Hogue said, according to CNN.
Here’s the thing: Since the start of this trial, the defense has been dead set on putting Arbery on trial for his own murder. Since Judge Timothy Walmsley has repeatedly rejected their bids to include the victim’s past run-ins with police, mental health issues and probation as evidence that he deserved to be shot by a bunch of rabid Dollar Store vigilantes, Hogue has now devolved into making ridiculous remarks on his appearance. White people wear sweats and gym suits when they go jogging, so she’s relying on the jury not to identify with people who exercise in whatever old clothes they have lying around.
Also—let’s talk about those negroes and their “long dirty toenails,” because where’s a proper noose when you need one, amirite?
Civil rights attorney, former prosecutor and legal analyst Charles Coleman Jr. told CNN that Hogue’s “word choice was intentional, her descriptions were unnecessary and the description ultimately is inflammatory.” He also called the description an “attempt to sort of really trigger some of the racial tropes and stereotypes that may be deeply embedded in the psyche of some of the jurors.”
While Hogue’s likely intentional runaway slave description was racist and horrid, it was also ironically appropriate since the recently repealed citizens arrest law the lawyers are hinging their defenses on is rooted in slave patrol protection.
This brings us to the rest of Hogue’s closing argument as well as that of the McMicaels’ attorneys.
“He died because for whatever inexplicable, illogical reason, instead of staying where he was, whatever overwhelming reason he had to avoid being captured that day and arrested by the police,” Hogue went on to say, completely ignoring the fact that none of Arbery’s pursuers were police officers and that it’s normal to run when regular-degular citizens are chasing you while armed. (But again, the victim would need to be white to be “normal.”)
Travis’ attorney Jason Sheffield made a similar argument in his closing saying, “You do have the right to have a firearm when you make an arrest.
“You do have the right to stop a person and hold them and detain them,” he continued. “There is risk with that. There are tragic consequences that can come from that.”
Sheffield also argued that Travis was afraid Arbery was armed as well and that he only tried “to defend himself, to protect himself,” despite the fact that the redneck trio had chased Arbery around the neighborhood for at least five minutes and blocked him from leaving the subdivision, and at no time during that negro hunt did Arbery brandish a weapon.
Also, are white civilians the only ones who are allowed to be armed and to do whatever they needed to defend themselves?
It’s clear that these attorneys are going for the same defense that got Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted.
It’s simple, really: As long as you’re white, you can claim self-defense no matter how clear it is that you were the aggressor and the initiator of the deadly situation.
Also, you probably have clean and trimmed toenails.