Loading the player…
Vice President Kamala Harris has weighed in on the mostly-all white jury in the trial for the murder of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.
As part of her visit to France this week to meet with “allies and partners to discuss our work to address the most urgent challenges of our time,” VP Harris held a press conference on Friday where she spoke to French and American reporters. At one point, she was asked by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond about the trial in Brunswick, Georgia where three white men are charged with the murder of Arbery, Mediaite reports.
Diamond noted specifically the racial makeup of the 12-member jury that will decide if the trio is guilty or not.
Diamond said to the VP “While you’ve been here in Paris this week, Americans have been closely watching the trial of the murder of Arbery, 11 of the 12 jurors in this trial are white. Only one of them is Black despite 26 percent of that county’s demographic being Black. The judge in this case even said that there appears to have been intentional discrimination in the selection of that jury.”
“So do you believe that justice can still be done given the history of jury discrimination in the United States? Do you believe that reforms are needed to ensure that juries represent a representative of the jurisdictions that those courts serve?” Diamond asked.
Harris refused to comment on the case “for obvious reasons,” she said, adding, “I don’t want to in any way influence or distract from what are the facts and the evidence in that case.”
“But… on the broader point, we have still a lot of work that we can do to improve the integrity of our criminal justice system,” Harris said, noting that she supports “ensuring that protections are in place so that anyone that is accused of a crime and charged with a crime has a jury of their peers.”
VP Harris continued, “There is work that we’ve always had to do, and we actually have embedded in the jury selection procedure, specific objections that on behalf of a client, a lawyer can make when it becomes clear that there is a systematic and racially-based exclusion of potential jurors. So we always have to have protections in place in our criminal justice system as a whole, including in our jury selection system.”
Arbery, 25, was chased and fatally shot on Feb. 23, 2020, by white father and son Greg McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael,34, while jogging. The McMichaels, accompanied by their white neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, pursued Arbery in their truck, believing he was responsible for a string of robberies in the Satilla Shores subdivision. Bryan captured the incident on cellphone video.
It took more than two months for the men to be charged, which occurred only after public outcry about the leaked video.
Bryan and The McMichaels are each facing a total of nine counts. They are charged with one count of malice murder, four counts felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count false imprisonment, and one count criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!
Loading the player…