LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
An update now on the case of Ahmaud Arbery. He was fatally shot in the street in Brunswick, Ga., more than two months ago after being confronted by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael. The McMichaels, who are white, claim they suspected Arbery, who is black, of burglary. Arbery's family says he was out running. The father and son were arrested only this past week after graphic video evidence surfaced of the killing.
The Reverend Craig Campbell is a senior pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in Brunswick.
CRAIG CAMPBELL: The community is saddened, and our hearts ache at this tragic and senseless loss of a precious human life. And our anger and rage is at the delay of justice since February the 23 - the hesitation of arrest not being made, the law enforcement having the information and did not make an arrest. The community has been outraged of what seemingly is a delay in justice.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Glynn County Police Department is defending that delay in a statement this weekend, saying it was the district attorney who decided the day after the shooting that it was justifiable homicide. The department also downplayed its ties to George McMichael, whom it employed in the 1980s. The statement says none of the officers involved worked there at the same time.
USA Today reporter Nicquel Terry Ellis says Ahmaud Arbery's family is calling for justice.
NICQUEL TERRY ELLIS: The family believes that he was racially profiled. The family believes that you have two white men who get in their truck with their shotguns, and they saw a black man in their neighborhood. They racially profiled him and went after him and killed him.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell us a little bit about where Ahmaud was shot? What is the area like? What are the relationships like between the different communities?
ELLIS: So Satilla Shores is a small subdivision that neighbors Brunswick, Ga. Satilla Shores, from what I've gathered, is a predominantly white community, middle- to upper-middle-class homes, sounds like it's, for the most part, pretty peaceful, right off the water. No one down there thought that racism was that bad that it could lead to someone being killed. So I think there's also a lot of shock down there among people trying to wrap their heads around how this could've happened in their community.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: If the accused say that they thought that he had committed a crime and that they were essentially, I guess, doing some sort of citizen's arrest, what does the law in Georgia say about that? Is that something that is legal in Georgia? - because, of course, some people are likening Ahmaud's killing to that of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012.
ELLIS: Yeah, I think the cases have a lot of similarities, Lulu. I think that in Florida, it was "stand your ground." And in Georgia, it's citizen's arrest that they're using as their defense for doing this. But my understanding is that to make that kind of arrest, you have to witness a crime in progress. So I think that's the big issue here - is that as far as we know, it's not clear that Ahmaud was actually committing a crime.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what happens next? - because one of the reasons given for this delayed arrest - the DA blamed it on the coronavirus shutdown. Obviously, this pandemic continues. So where does this go from here?
ELLIS: Yeah. Well, they've been arrested and charged now. From there, you know, I think there are a lot of questions of what could happen if it's - you know, if it does go to a grand jury. It wouldn't be able to happen until June. And there's also a question of whether this might end up having to go to trial. So this could be a process that gets dragged out through the rest of this year and into next year, possibly. So we have a long road ahead, it looks like to me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Nicquel Terry Ellis, reporter for USA Today.
Thank you very much.
ELLIS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.