A lot of people like to argue that Ahmaud Arbery‘s case proves justice can be served in cases where racist white men kill unarmed Black people after Arbery’s killers were all convicted and given life sentences.
Those people forget that it almost wasn’t so. They forget that it took more than two months for anyone to be arrested for Arbery’s killing. They forget that local authorities did their damndest to sweep the case under the rug. They forget that Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, who ultimately recused himself from the case, initially determined that Greg and Travis McMiceal “were following, in ‘hot pursuit,’ a burglary suspect, with solid first-hand probable cause, in their neighborhood, and asking/ telling him to stop,” and he referred to Arbery as a “criminal suspect.” They forget that Barnhill was called in by former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who was indicted last year after being accused of aiding Greg McMichael, who worked in her office until 2019, in avoiding arrest along with Travis.
Well, now, 15 months after Johnson’s indictment, the former prosecutor has finally received her court date. According to the Associated Press, on Tuesday, Superior Court Judge John R. Turner scheduled Johnson’s arraignment for Dec. 29.
As previously reported, Johnson was charged with hindering the police investigation into Arbery’s killing in September of last year after prosecutors said Greg called her directly after the shooting and Johnson responded by showing “favor and affection” toward Greg and interfered with police by “directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest.”
In fact, according to AP, prosecutors listed a total of 16 calls between Greg and Johnson that allegedly occurred in the days and weeks following the shooting.
When Johnson appears in court, she will have a chance to enter a plea after the charges are formally presented, and Turner said he will also hear arguments regarding pending legal motions, which include a request by Johnson’s attorneys to have one of the charges dismissed.
Finding justice for Ahmaud Arbery has been a long uphill battle that started with a months-long struggle to get anyone arrested for the murder at all. If not for video footage of the shooting and public outcry to have the killers brought to justice, Arbery’s case would likely have been lost under the heel of local cronies in law enforcement who were willing to scratch the McMichael’s backs and let them skate on a heinous hate crime.
It proves that regardless of how many involved get charged and convicted, Arbery’s case is not one that should prompt complacency in regard to how racial justice is handled in America.
Justice almost didn’t happen at all in this case, and we’re still waiting for it to come to completion.
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