According to data posted by Statista, in 2020 alone, there were 3915 victims of anti-African American hate crimes in the United States, making it the racially motivated hate crime with the most victims in that year. In the same year, the United States witnessed the racially motivated killing of an African American male, George Floyd, resulting in nationwide protests and riots. Moreover, discourses on hate crimes have also roped in the issue of law enforcement and their role in perpetuating hate crimes in the country. Considering the adverse consequence of hate crimes and the trauma suffered by the victims of the hate crimes, it is imperative to investigate the causes of the hate crimes by focusing on the criminal trials of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murderers to understand the motivation of such heinous crimes against an individual.
Ahmaud Arbrey, born May 8th, 1994, met his untimely death on February 23rd, 2020, in Satilla shores, near Brunswick in Georgia. The deceased was jogging when three Caucasian men accosted him, resulting in his death (Smith par 2). The circumstance of his death and killing were disturbing as the law enforcement officers veiled the truth of the cause of his death with lies. The report indicates that on the night of Ahmaud’s murder, the local police department called his family and informed them of his death in a burglary gone wrong. However, an amateur video showed the last moments of his life and how he was brutally shot by the McMichaels’ multiple times, resulting in his death. Just before Travis McMicheals shot the victim, he muttered the phrase “Fucking Nigger” a racial slur, after that firing the shot that killed Arbrey (Yankah 681). Moreover, the prosecution in the case as reported by Kirkland et al. argued that “At the end of the day, the evidence in this case will prove that if Ahmaud Arbery had been White, he would have gone for a jog, checked out a cool house under construction, and been home in time for Sunday supper” (par 2) The statement confirms that the crime was racially motivated
The hate crime trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers resonates with me as it shows just how deeply America is divided across racial lines. Arbery’s death represents the deaths of other African Americans who were targeted because of the color of their skin. The trial illuminates the dark cloud that hovers over American society and the persistent racial injustices that different generations of African Americans have suffered both at the hand of extremists and law enforcement. Nonetheless, as the current society continues to confront the issue of racial injustice and crimes of hate, it is evident that the country has not embraced diversity as it is claimed. Minority groups are continuously lynched and segregated and often become victims of hate crimes or, even worse, are killed either by the police or other citizens. Considering diversity and unity are some of America’s values, efforts must be made to win the hearts and minds of the people and promote harmony in society.
In summation, the Hate crime trial of Arbery’s murders illuminates the problem of racialized hate crimes in the United States and how systematic racism in the police veils such crimes. This topic resonates with me as I have seen how dangerous and deadly racial divides can be and how societies can be torn apart if the issue of race is not addressed sufficiently and properly. In this respect, looking at the trial of the murderers of Arbery and trying to understand how peace and unity can be fostered in society shall go a long way in improving the peaceful co-existence of diverse groups in society.
Kirkland, Pamela, et al. “Ahmaud Arbery Would Not Have Been Killed If He Were White, Prosecutors Say in Hate Crimes Trial.” CNN, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/14/us/ahmaud-arbery-hate-crime-trial-opening/index.html.
Smith, Jamil. “The Hate Crimes Trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murderers Will Put Racism in the Spotlight.” Vox, 8 Feb. 2022, https://www.vox.com/22922329/ahmaud-arbery-hate-crimes-federal-trial.
Yankah, Ekow N. “Ahmaud Arbery, Reckless Racism and Hate Crimes: Recklessness as Hate Crime Enchancement.” Ariz. St. LJ, vol. 53, 2021, p. 681.