Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The nearly all-White jury in the Ahmaud Arbery trial is itself an injustice

By Paul Butler, Washington Post

A jury of his “bubbas.” That’s what the defense lawyer for one of the three White men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery wanted for his client. Thanks to the judge, that’s pretty much the jury the defendants got, plus some bubba-ettes.

Arbery was the 25-year-old Black jogger who was shot three times in February 2020 after being chased through the streets of Brunswick, Ga., by William Bryan, along with Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael. During the pursuit, Bryan was said to have hit Arbery with the side of his truck.

The defendants claim that they were making a citizen’s arrest — that they suspected Arbery of burglary and that they killed him in self-defense when he tried to grab Travis McMichael’s gun. Video that Bryan recorded of the encounter went viral months after Arbery’s killing, and the three men were subsequently charged with murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Jury selection started last month. In a pretrial hearing last week, defense lawyer Kevin Gough expressed concern that “White males born in the South, over 40 years of age, without four-year college degrees, sometimes euphemistically known as ‘Bubba’ or ‘Joe Six Pack,’ seem to be significantly underrepresented” in the jury pool. The defense team has “a problem with that,” he said.

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