Man who shot Ahmaud Arbery testifies that it was ‘life or death’ | The news of the dishes

The man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery testified Wednesday that Arbery attacked him and grabbed his shotgun after he and his father persecuted the 25-year-old black man in their predominantly white neighborhood in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Travis McMichael’s testimony came when defense attorneys in the murder case against the three white men accused of killing Arbery opened their case by building on arguments that their clients were legally trying to stop burglary in their neighborhood.

Asked by his lawyer why he shot Arbery, McMichael replied: “He had my gun. He hit me. It was clear that he was attacking me, that if he would have gotten the shotgun from me, then this was a situation on life or dead and I have to stop him from doing this so I shot. ”

McMichael said he thought Ahmaud Arbery was a burglar when he shot and killed the man who was out running on Sunday.

That McMichael took a stand on his own defense could be a risky maneuver that opens him up for questioning by prosecutors about evidence that McMichael may have had “racist animus” toward black people.

McMichael, 35, his 65-year-old father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, are charged with murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment in the case. The three men, who are white, risk life imprisonment if convicted of murder, and have pleaded not guilty.

“I want to give my side of the story,” McMichael said.

The high-profile lawsuit has gained particular significance as the United States struggles with race justice issues following the 2020 protests and civil unrest that shook the country after the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

The three men chased Arbery in a pick-up truck on February 23, 2020, before the younger McMichael fired his shotgun three times at close range as Arbery ran towards him and appeared to reach out for the weapon. McMichael has claimed he shot in self-defense.

The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday after eight days of testimony from 23 witnesses. Defense attorneys have claimed the defendants believed Arbery, 25, could have committed a crime before chasing him and trying to arrest a lawful citizen.

McMichael, 35, said there had been thefts in Satilla Shores, his neighborhood off the small coastal town of Georgia, Brunswick, that had put residents on edge.

He recalled an earlier meeting with Arbery on the night of February 11, 2020, less than two weeks before the shooting that killed Arbery.

That night, he said, he saw the Arbery outside an uninhabited, half-built house in the neighborhood. Prosecutors said Arbery was an avid runner out for one of his regular runs.

McMichael said Arbery “wrote through the shadows” and seemed to stick his hand in the waistband or pocket of his shorts.

“It scared me,” he said. “I assume he is armed.” He ran home to grab his gun and called police, but Arbery had disappeared by then.

McMichael testified that he believed Arbery may have stolen fishing gear, which had been reported missing by the owner of the half-built house, and returned on Feb. 11 to take more items.

No evidence has emerged that Arbery took anything from the house.

The property owner had previously said through a lawyer that Arbery might have stopped at the construction site to drink from a faucet. Arbery was wearing nothing but his running clothes and shoes the day he was shot.

McMichael described law enforcement training he had during nine years working as a mechanic in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Speaking calmly and often addressing jurors directly, the Reuters news agency reported, McMichael said he had the power to arrest and was trained in using force and the need for reasonable suspicion of a crime.

Although he never used physical force in his Coast Guard duties, he said he had learned that it can be used to de-escalate a situation to point a gun at anyone.

“When you pull a weapon against someone, based on what I’ve learned in my training, it usually tells people to withdraw,” and comply with orders, he told the jury.

The black civil rights leader Pastor Jesse Jackson sat with Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, during the trial of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan [Stephen B. Morton/Pool via Reuters]

Prosecutors say the defendants had unfairly assumed the worst of a black man out on a Sunday race, and that none of the defendants worked as law enforcement officers while hunting Arbery.

Bryan recorded cell phone video of Arbery being killed by Travis McMichael. The video caused outrage when it was released more than two months later.

Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walmsley rejected a request from defense attorneys to ban prominent civil rights leaders, including Pastor Jesse Jackson and other high-profile visitors, from the courtroom.

Jackson sat with Arbery’s parents in the back row of the courtroom on Wednesday for the second time this week. Defendants’ attorneys argued that the presence of Jackson and others who have commented on racial injustice could unfairly influence the jury.

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