Celebrities are demanding justice for Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was chased, shot, and killed by two white men while he was jogging in Glynn County, Georgia on February 23, as the New York Times reports. 25-year-old Arbery was pursued by former police officer Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, who were armed with a revolver and a shotgun. Arbery, who was unarmed, was fatally shot after a struggle over the shotgun. Today, May 8, would have been his 26th birthday.
For over two months, neither Gregory nor Travis McMichael was arrested or charged over Arbery's death—a former prosecutor on the case argued that the men had acted according to citizen arrest and self-defense statutes, after Gregory told police he had believed Arbery to look like a suspect in a string of break-ins in the area. Arbery's family rejected the allegation that he was involved in a crime, while his sister, Jasmine Arbery, told CNN she believed his death was a hate crime.
After a graphic video emerged of the shooting and sparked widespread outrage, Georgia prosecutor Tom Durden said Tuesday, May 5, that the case would go to a grand jury, according to the New York Times. On Thursday, May 7, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that Gregory and Travis McMichael had been arrested and taken into custody in the Glynn County Jail, CNN reports. They face charges of murder and aggravated assault.
Jasmine Arbery told CNN, "It's been a long time. It feels like it's been a long time. So, this day was a turning point in recovering my brother's case and getting justice for him."
Many celebrities have added their voices to the growing outcry over Arbery’s killing and, before they were arrested on Thursday, the absence of criminal charges brought against Gregory and Travis McMichael.
“Ahmaud Arbery. Went for a jog. Chased down. Hunted. Murdered. Its been months and his killers walk free,” Gabrielle Union wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of Arbery. “I dont want to beg, plead, reason, cry, or scream for you to see us as worthy of our breath. If you need to be cajoled into empathy, you are not who you think you are. I don't want to wonder if you see our humanity. What do you see when you cast your eyes on us? We are worthy of peace, joy, grace, compassion, and every damn protection we are afforded by existing.”
“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!” LeBron James tweeted. “Can’t even go for a damn jog man!”
"We demand justice for Ahmaud because we deserve justice," Tracee Ellis Ross wrote on Instagram. "Perhaps you know his name by now, or perhaps you don’t. But please pay attention everyone. This is what’s happening in our country. This is what’s STILL happening in our country. And not only in Georgia. It’s happening everywhere."
More celebrities, including Naomi Campbell, Ava DuVernay, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Viola Davis called for justice for Arbery on social media. Read their posts below:
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