U.S. Judge Allows Nearly All-White Jury in Murder Trial of Black Jogger Ahmaud Arbery

A United States judge has seated a nearly-all white jury, with only one Black member, in the Georgia trial of three white men accused of murdering Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in 2020.

Judge Timothy Walmsley acknowledged on Nov. 3 that there appeared to be “potential intentional discrimination” in the jury. However, he concluded that the court lacked the authority to reseat a jury panel as spelled out in the Supreme Court precedent and that defense lawyers’ justifications did not mention race or ethnicity.

Prosecutors had argued racial bias in the jury selection that lasted two and a half weeks, accusing the defense of eliminating potential Black jurors based on race.

Defense attorneys for the accused murderers — Gregory McMichael, his son Travis, and their neighbor William Bryan —used 11 of their 24 strikes to reject Black jurors from a pool of 48 potential jurors, 12 of whom were Black.

Meanwhile, prosecutors used all 12 of its strikes to reject potential white jurors.

Over 26% of the 85,000 residents of Glynn County — where the trial is taking place and where Arbery was fatally shot — are Black while 69% are white, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The one thing we know is that the Black jurors who showed up for service came hoping to serve if selected. They had the same concerns as the white jurors,” Barbara Arnwine, the spokesperson for Arbery’s family said.

Arbery, 25, was jogging in the coastal town of Satilla Shores on Feb. 23, 2020 when the McMichaels pursued him as they carried firearms, suspecting Arbery of burglary.

Travis fired his shotgun at Arbery three times while Bryan, who allegedly hit Arbery with a truck, partly recorded the incident in a video after joining the McMichaels.

Opening arguments will begin on Nov. 5.

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