Time to end 'Black forgiveness'? Ahmaud Arbery's mother calls for death penalty for killers

The community is seething with anger and 'Black Forgiveness' reactions are missing from posts

                            Time to end 'Black forgiveness'? Ahmaud Arbery's mother calls for death penalty for killers
(Getty Images)

Over the past few years, there has been a noted pattern of response from the families of unarmed black people shot dead which has decidedly been missing from the conversation surrounding the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. This time there is no talk of forgiveness for the suspects. It has been often noted that the family members of an African-American shooting victim readily forgive the killers. However, Arbery's family and the outraged black national community wants justice this time.

The suspects, a father and son duo,  64-year-old Gregory McMichael — a former police officer — and 34-year-old Travis McMichael, shot 25-year-old Arbery dead on February 23 on a street in broad daylight while he was jogging. The pair reportedly suspected him to be a burglar running around the neighborhood. Arbery was shot thrice and was reported dead on the scene. After a video of the assault was recently released on social media, the incident sparked a widespread racial outcry in the country and has led many to question why the suspects were arrested only after the outrage. No arrests were made in the case for over two months.

Ahmaud Arbery. (GoFundMe)

Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, is taking her slain son's story on every platform she can manage to and has openly called for death penalty for the suspects. 

"Coming from my point of view, my son died, so they should die as well," Arbery's mother told TMZ on Tuesday, May 12. It appears that her sentiment is being echoed on social media, with nearly all from the black community demanding justice for the senseless killing of Arbery.

The outrage from the community comes months after a similar uproar was seen in the shooting of an unarmed black man shot dead by former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger. She had broken into the house of 26-year-old Botham Jean on September 6, 2018 and shot him dead as he sat on his sofa eating ice-cream. Guyger, who lived in the same apartment complex, had mistaken Jean's house as hers and thought he was an intruder.

Wanda Cooper-Jones (R), mother of Ahmaud Arbery, weeps while people gather to honor her son at Sidney Lanier Park on May 9, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia (Getty Images)

After Jean's brutal killing, his family appeared sympathetic towards Guyger who was tried for murder. When the jury returned a guilty verdict in the case, Jean's brother asked while testifying during the sentencing if he could hug his brother's killer. Later, Judge Tammy Kemp, an African-American woman, also embraced the convicted murderer in court after the sentence was read. A bailiff present in the court, a black woman, was also caught on camera stroking Guyger's hair shortly after the verdict. 

The friends and family of the Charleston church massacre victims also chose to forgive the shooter Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who wanted to wage a race war. He opened fire in an African-American church in South Carolina, killing nine parishioners on June 17, 2015.

Apart from these instances of black forgiveness, there are other subtle examples of it in American history, with a recent one being the Virginia blackface scandal. Gov Ralph, who admitted to wearing blackface in college, was forgiven nearly a year after by the black community as they rallied around him, showering their forgiveness, Newsone reported.

However, Arbery's death appears to have touched a nerve among the black community as suggestions of the law enforcement attempting to suppress the case have emerged. After the outrage resulting from the viral video, a fresh investigation was launched into Arbery's death by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, leading to McMichaels' arrest within two days. The local law enforcement had not laid any charges against them for over two months.

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