The trial of the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery has hit a number of roadblocks during its first week. Most notably, the court made the mistake of allowing potential jurors to learn more about Ahmaud Arbery's mental health history. Also, court reports suggest that jury selection has moved slower than expected with little success because several potential jurors have already come to the conclusion that George McMichael, Travis McMichael and William "Roddy" Bryan are guilty. Now, attorneys representing the three defendants are making another request.
William "Roddy" Bryan's attorney Kevin Gough has asked Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley to order the removal of "any signs openly advocating for ‘Justice for Ahmaud Arbery’ on the grounds of the Glynn County courthouse.” News 4 Jax in Georgia has reported that Gough complained about a "young girl riding a tricycle in front of the courthouse this week with a sign saying 'Justice for Ahmaud' on her back." The local news outlet has also reported that Gough complained about a "banner near the courthouse steps [that] includes a photo of deceased Georgia congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis." However, the report doesn't explain how a banner of John Lewis would influence the outcome of this case.
“We are concerned with any conscious or unconscious attempt to influence any jurors," Travis McMichael’s attorney Robert Rubin added, according to News 4 Jax.
Walmsley did not entirely shoot down the request, but he did note that the courthouse is a public space. He asked the defense attorneys to file a legal motion “walking [him] through the First Amendment rights [they] seek to infringe upon and how [they] intend to do this.” Arbery's family has also pushed back against the defense attorneys' request.
“We not doing nothing out here to hurt nobody,” said Ahmaud Arbery’s aunt, Ruby Arbery, told News 4 Jax.
“Everything we doing out here is for justice, peace, love and support.”
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.