Ben Crump says defense attorney suggested Arbery was a “running slave” in the toenail comment

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump slammed one of the defense attorneys representing the defendants in the Ahmaud Arbery case, saying she hinted that Arbery was a “runaway slave” in her toenail comments to the jury.

“Incredibly, one hears the defense attorney in his conclusion say that Ahmaud Arbery had long legs with dirty toenails, as if he were a runaway slave and [the defendants] was allowed to chase him and get him to comply or kill him, Crump told CNN on Wednesday.

Attorney Laura Hogue, who represents Greg McMichael in the case, sparked outrage in her closing arguments for the trial on Monday as she painted a disturbing picture of Arbery as a “returning nightly uninvited guest.”

“Making Ahmaud Arbery a victim after the choices he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts, without socks to cover his long, dirty toenails,” Hogue told the jury, after suggesting that the 25-year-old’s actions to escape from the men accused of killing him played a role in his death.

Her statements were met with audible gasps from inside the courtroom, and Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said she got up and left the room immediately after hearing the description.

“I thought it was very, very rude to talk about his long, dirty toenails and completely neglect that my son had a huge hole in his chest when he was shot with that shotgun,” Cooper-Jones later told CNN’s John Berman .

Ben Crump Ahmaud Arbery Runaway Slave Trayvon
Attorney Ben Crump (C) and Marcus Arbery Sr., father of Ahmaud Arbery, arrive at the Glynn County Courthouse as the jury selection begins for the trial of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery on October 18, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia.
Sean Rayford / Stringer

On Wednesday, Crump accused Hogue of using “dog whistle rhetoric” in its statements to the jury in hopes that it would lead jurors away from dealing with Arbery.

“She said he’s a scary, black man, and if you say he’s a scary, black person and makes the jury believe it, then you want them to be different from what they see in that video. of a human being being chased down and being lynched in broad daylight, “Crump said.

“We do not want you to pay attention to him because he is the scary, black person,” he continued.

Crump also drew parallels between the Arbery case and the case of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black student from Florida who was killed shot by George Zimmerman in 2012. Zimmerman was later acquitted of second-degree murder.

“It’s Trayvon Martin 2.0,” Crump said. “Remember, they murdered the character Trayvon Martin after he was murdered, and now they’re doing the same thing, almost ten years later, with Ahmaud Arbery.”

He added: “The only question that remains unanswered is whether this jury will give us a Jim Crow verdict, or will they tell America we must be better than this by 2021.”

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