Jury selection for the trial of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. — the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery — came to an official close on Wednesday (Nov. 3). According to CNN and other outlets, the 12-person panel consists of one Black person and 11 white members.
On Wednesday, Judge Timothy Walmsley acknowledged that the jury was predominately white and said the defense appeared to be racially discriminatory in selecting jurors, but allowed the final panel to proceed anyways.
“This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination,” he said.
As reported by REVOLT, jury selection for the three men’s trial began over two and a half weeks ago.
The defense had to argue their case as to why they chose to dismiss certain jurors, a process that CNN writes took over two hours, and judge Walmsley ultimately accepting their reasoning.
“One of the challenges that I think counsel recognized in this case is the racial overtones in the case… This is sort of the continuation of a conversation that I think will continue for a long time, with respect to this case,” Walmsley said.
The judge explained that in Georgia, “all the defense needs to do is provide [a] legitimate, nondiscriminatory, clear, reasonably specific and related reason” for dismissing potential jurors, which he said they succeeded in doing.
“I mean, that was devastating,” she said.
Twitter users following the case also reacted to the jury selection online.
“It’s not just that only *one* Black juror has been seated in the trial of the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery. It’s that the judge acknowledged the defense was using *intentional discrimination* in selecting jurors and did nothing about it,” one person tweeted.
“1 Black juror & 11 white jurors were picked yesterday to decide the fate of three men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery. A jury should reflect its community, but Black jurors were intentionally excluded to help these cold-blooded killers escape justice!” civil rights lawyer Ben Crump added.
The McMichaels and Bryan are charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment in Arbery’s killing. The three men also face federal attempted kidnapping and hate crime charges, as well as the McMichaels’ using a firearm during a crime of violence charge.
The white father and son followed and gunned down Arbery last February while their neighbor Bryant filmed the incident and blocked the Black 25-year-old with his truck.