Ahmaud Arbery's father says racism in Georgia haunted him throughout his life: 'They just lynched him'
Ahmaud Arbery's father Marcus Arbery Sr opened up about the tragic loss of his 25-year-old son two months after he was fatally shot by two white men, saying his murder was "lynching". Marcus, while talking about his youngest son, said that he was just like him, fit and athletic.
The suspects, a father and son duo, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael — a former police officer — and 34-year-old Travis McMichael, shot 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 at least twice and was reported dead on the scene.
Almost everyone who talks about Arbery, remembers how good a runner he was. His neighbors used to see him jogging nearly every day. His route would take him among the curved road outside the home he shared with his mother, then into Satilla Shores just outside of Brunswick. The 25-year-old would often wave to the regulars on his route. "He just loved to work out and he just loved people," his father said while talking to the Guardian.
Arbery was shot to death on his last jog. His parents, along with his siblings, waited for more than two months for the killers to be arrested. During the two months, the case went through three district attorneys, after the first two recused themselves due to their links with Gregory McMichael. The charges only came after a video of the assault went viral on social media, sparking countrywide protests. Meanwhile, Arbery's family was devastated as they demanded answers on the absence of charges.
"We can’t have two different justice systems in America: one for black America and one for white America," a lawyer representing Marcus, Ben Crump, told the outlet.
The McMichaels, on the day of the shooting in February, had told the reporting police officers that Arbery matched the description of someone caught on a surveillance video burglarizing in the neighborhood. A video of the assault, released this week, however, appeared to contradict Gregory's statement who claimed that Arbery had violently attacked his son Travis.
Arbery's father believes that his son would never have attacked the duo. "He was just a lovable young man and he would give you the shirt off of his back," Marcus said of Arbery who would have turned 26 this Friday, May 8. "We’re talking about doing a celebration for him during the weekend," the father added.
Reports state that thousands of people across the United States celebrated Arbery on Friday by doing what he loved the most: running. People in Glynn County reportedly took the same route he would run near his mother's house.
One of Arbery's friends took to Facebook to write: "We’re going to keep running for you, bro, until justice is served."
Marcus continued that his son's death was an act of racism by the McMichaels. "I’ve dealt with racism my whole life here," he said of the white community in the region. "Everybody’s supposed to be equal.”
“I got to live without my son and they lynched him. It’s just hard,” he said. “He didn’t deserve that," he added.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, within two days of the release of the shocking footage of his death, arrested the McMichaels, promising to continue the investigation into the case. The pair have been charged with murder and aggravated assault.