Update: Just moments ago, at about 9:30 PM EST (6:30 PM PST), police charged and arrested Gregory and Travis McMichael, who have been booked in Glynn County Jail in Brunswick, Georgia.
Following widespread public outrage over the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, several high-profile artists have taken to social media and rallied behind the #JusticeForAhmaud hashtag.
Commenting on the tragedy, rapper Common wrote: “With all that’s going on with COVID-19, we still can’t forget and just sit around when lives are being taken for no reason. Let’s commit action to what Justice is supposed to be in America and the world. God Bless.”
T.I. tweeted: “IT WON’T STOP UNTIL WE STOP IT!!”
MC Hammer called the episode “heartbreaking” on Twitter, and his message was accompanied by an uncensored video of the incident.
Additionally, Wacka Flocka posted about the shooting on Instagram, while JoJo tweeted a message in support of Ahmaud and directed fans to a #JusticeForAhmaud petition. At the time of this writing, said petition had received more than one million signatures.
Ice Cube, Meek Mill, Justin Timberlake, and Ciara have also weighed in on Arbery’s death and, more broadly, race relations in contemporary America.
The shooting occurred in a Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood on February 23rd, 2020, though video was just recently released. The footage was captured not by law-enforcement officials’ body cameras, but by a video camera aimed through the windshield of a moving car – reportedly that of Bryan Williams, a neighbor of the shooters.
In the clip, retired Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Investigator Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael can be seen taking aim at and shooting an unarmed Arbery, who ultimately collapsed to the ground. Police subsequently arrived upon the scene, but did not make arrests; Gregory McMichael had previously called 911 because he suspected Arbery of committing a local break-in and trespassing on a neighbor’s property.
After reviewing the evidence and Arbery’s autopsy report, Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill indicated “it is our conclusion that there is insufficient probable cause to issue arrest warrants at this time.” In his report, D.A. Barnhill voiced his belief that the shooting resulted from self-defense; he has also recused himself from the case.
Prosecutors intend to summon a grand jury to review the case’s evidence – and possibly bring criminal charges against Travis and Gregory McMichael – but Georgia courts are expected to remain closed until at least mid-June because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.