The nation mourns Ahmaud Arbery one year after the 25-year-old Black man was killed while jogging in Georgia.
On Tuesday, numerous political figures and celebrities, including President Joe Biden, paid their respects to Arbery on the anniversary of his passing.
A Black man should be able to go for a jog without fearing for his life. Today, we remember Ahmaud Arbery’s life and we dedicate ourselves to making this country safer for people of color.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 23, 2021
You should be here.— Be A King (@BerniceKing) February 23, 2021
I’m praying for your family and committed to working toward a nation and world where Black men aren’t hunted and gunned down for being Black. #AhmaudArbery
Artist: James Charles Morris pic.twitter.com/dqeqiluIQm
One year ago today, Ahmaud Arbery went on a run. He was hunted down and murdered.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) February 23, 2021
We cannot forget his life. We cannot forget his story. We cannot forget that the system almost let his killers get away.
Ahmaud, we continue to fight for justice for Black lives in your name. pic.twitter.com/ZsKRYssSYw
As a Black man, the memory of Ahmaud Arbery is with me as I leave the house each day. We will never stop fighting for justice for him & all those whose lives have been stolen by white supremacist violence. All of us should feel safe and welcome in our communities. #runwithmaud— Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (@malcolmkenyatta) February 23, 2021
On February 23, 2020, Travis McMichael allegedly fired three shots from a shotgun at Ahmaud, while his father Gregory McMichael allegedly watched the shooting while standing in the bed of a pickup truck. Travis and Gregory’s neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan filmed the incident on his cell phone, and according to Gregory, “attempted to block” Ahmaud as he ran.
During a June 2020 preliminary hearing, Richard Dial, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assistant special agent in charge of the case, testified that William heard Travis say “------- ------” while standing over Ahmaud’s body.
In July, Travis, Gregory, and William all pleaded not guilty to one charge of malice murder, four charges of felony murder, two charges of aggravated assault, one charge of false imprisonment, and one charge of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Per their lawyers, Travis and Gregory were justified in pursuing Ahmaud because they suspected he was a burglar. Attorneys also argue Travis acted in self-defense after Ahmaud allegedly tried to wrestle his shotgun away.
However, in June, an investigator testified that he found no evidence that Ahmaud stole anything from a construction site he walked through before he was shot and killed.
Additionally, prosecutors say Arbery was merely jogging and the McMichaels acted as illegal vigilantes.
In an interview published Monday, Ahmaud’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones spoke out about her son’s tragic death.
"I cannot [move on,]" Wanda told NBC reporter Blayne Alexander. "I try, but when I laid Ahmaud to rest last February, a part of me left also. It's painful."
In response to new body camera video from Glynn County police officers that show the moments after Ahmaud was shot, Wanda said, “He was still lying there awake. Alive. Moving his head and his leg. It replays in my mind each and every day."
Despite Ahmaud’s death, Wanda continues to stay strong for her family.
"I'm hoping. I pray," she said. "Because I have another son, I have grandsons. I pray, I pray."
On Tuesday, Wanda filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Travis, Gregory, and William worked with local law enforcement on the day of Ahmaud’s death.
Legal documents obtained by TMZ on Tuesday reveal that Wanda alleges the three suspects were deputized by Glynn County PD, and that Gregory had a police-issued revolver.
Wanda also alleges officials — including Glynn County and Brunswick County prosecutors — tried to sweep the incident under the rug. She claims Gregory had once been employed by the local police force, as well as by the D.A.'s office.
She is seeking at least $1 million in damages for excessive force, conspiracy to violate Ahmaud's civil rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, a failure to properly train officers, and other alleged crimes.