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Supporters Of Man Killed While Jogging Plan 2.23-Mile Protest Runs In His Honor

An unfortunately common anxiety among African-Americans concerns the matter of when, not if, they'll find themselves targeted.

For Sandra Bland, this occurred when she was arrested and threatened with a stun gun for failing to signal. She would later die in police custody under unknown circumstances.

Jermaine Massey did not face such extreme and fatal consequences, but he nonetheless had the police called on him by staff at the hotel he was staying at for calling his mother in the lobby.

But while black Americans may increasingly find themselves having the police called on them for frivolous reasons as in this example, one tragic case from Georgia makes it clear that such behavior from others can escalate to far more extreme degrees.

On February 23, 2020, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was out jogging in Glynn County, Georgia.

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According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, a recording taken of him then shows him being confronted by two armed men who were later identified as Greg and Travis McMichael, who are father and son, respectively.

They appeared to block Arbery's path in a pickup truck, which he attempted to jog around.

Arbery, who was unarmed, was then seen struggling with the man armed with a shotgun after a shot is fired.

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Two more were then fired, after which point Arbery collapsed. He would not survive the encounter.

As noted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the video also contradicts Greg McMichael's later statements that Arbery was running fast before they followed him, rather than jogging. McMichael would also tell police that they believed he was responsible for a series of break-ins in their community.

Despite the recording, Glynn County police did not pursue charges against either of the McMichaels.

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It's worth noting that Greg McMichael was once an officer of that department and went on to work as an investigator for the Brunswick District Attorney's office.

An attorney in nearby Brunswick stated his belief that this would likely have been where the case ended had the video not sparked international outrage.

In the months since the incident, Brunswick DA Jackie Jackson has recused herself from the case. The case then went to Roger Barnhill, who was apparently left with the impression that the McMichaels acted in self-defense and that no charges against them were warranted.

However, he also had to recuse himself because his son worked with Greg McMichael at the DA's office.

Now, the case is in the hands of Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden, who called for an investigation into Arbery's death on April 5.

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As CNN reported, that investigation is now being conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported that Durden is asking a grand jury to consider criminal charges against the McMichaels. However, no grand juries are likely to assemble until at least June 12 in the interest of public health.

In the meantime, Arbery's family have led demonstrations for justice in this matter, which caught on throughout Twitter via the #IRunWithMaud hashtag.

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As CNN reported, Arbery's former high school football coach Jason Vaughn is now asking supporters to run 2.23 miles as a means of protesting that keeps everyone safely apart.

This run is expected to take place on Friday, which would have been Arbery's birthday and the requested distance is a reference to the day of his death.

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As Vaughn said, "Any runner can identify with Maud, a guy who may have had a bad day, but he can go out there and hit the pavement and go jog."

Participants are encouraged to document their runs and contribute them to the hashtag. The idea took at least some inspiration from the last time Vaughn saw Arbery while on a run. He said he had wanted to catch up to him and joke with him, but that Arbery was pushing himself too hard to make reaching him possible.

As Vaughn said, "I'm going to keep going just like he was going last time I saw him."

h/t: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN