Politicians join calls for justice over Ahmaud Arbery’s killing

Joe Biden among those who take to social media after video showing shooting of unarmed young man shared on social media.

Racial tensions are rising in the US State of Georgia after a young African American man was shot dead while jogging.

A video has emerged showing Ahmaud Arbery, 25, jogging when he was confronted by two white men, former police detective Gregory McMichael, and his son, Travis.

The former policeman then shot Arbery, claiming he thought he was a burglar.

The footage, which was taken by an unidentified witness in another car, shows Arbery jogging down a narrow two-lane road and around a white pickup truck stopped in the right lane, its driver’s door open.

As Arbery crosses back in front of the truck, a gunshot is heard.

Arbery is then seen struggling with a man holding a gun as a second man stands in the bed of the truck brandishing a revolver. Two more shots are heard before Arbery stumbles and falls face-down.

Former United States Vice-President Joe Biden has joined politicians calling for a just and transparent investigation into the fatal shooting of unarmed Arbery.

In a tweet on Wednesday, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Biden called for “a swift, full, and transparent investigation” into Arbery’s murder.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, another former candidate for Democratic nomination, also said the video was “sickening”.

“The fact that no action has been taken after two months is unacceptable. Ahmaud’s friends and family deserve accountability and justice,” she tweeted.

Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said everyone “deserved justice and due process under the law”.

“Despite the existence of a video, neither attacker has been arrested or charged. An all-too familiar story,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

“Ahmaud’s life matters.”

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, called the shooting “heartbreaking and sickening”.

“The family of Ahmaud Arbery deserves justice. There MUST be a full, impartial, and prompt investigation,” he said in a tweet.

Ilhan Omar, a Democratic member of the House, tweeted on Wednesday: “[Arbery] was lynched. Killed in cold blood simply for being a Black man in America. Far too often, our criminal justice system fails us. We can’t let that happen this time.”

The graphic footage of the incident has stirred outrage over the failure of prosecutors to file charges against the McMichaels.

Black leaders call the killing a case of “jogging while black.” They want the pair charged with murder and jailed immediately.

A video taken by another motorist appears to confirm that Arbery did nothing to provoke the confrontation.

Gregory McMichael told police that he and his son followed the jogger and sought to detain him because they believed he resembled a suspect in a recent string of break-ins.

A Georgia county prosecutor said on Tuesday that he was planning to ask a grand jury if charges should be filed against the white man and his son seen in the video.

“I am of the opinion that the case should be presented to the grand jury of Glynn County for consideration of criminal charges against those involved in the death of Mr. Arbery,” Tom Durden, acting district attorney for a neighbouring district, said in a letter posted on Facebook.

Durden, who was assigned to investigate the shooting, said he would present the case to the next available grand jury in Glynn County.

He added that the grand jury might not meet until mid-June or later because courts were under restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.