Ahmaud Arbery killing: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys call for swift action in shooting case of unarmed black man

May 10, 2020

Musicians including Jay-Z and Alicia Keys have signed an open letter calling for quick action and also changes in the legal case over the killing of an unarmed black man in Georgia.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was allegedly murdered by two white men - father and son Gregory McMichael, 64, and 34-year-old Travis McMichael.

The letter was aimed at Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia attorney general Christopher Carr and district attorney Tom Durden.

It said Mr Durden should be taken off the case due to a conflict of interest because the elder McMichael was a former police officer.

The letter has urged Mr Carr to instead appoint a special prosecutor to help get a fair trial.

And it also said a man who allegedly filmed the shooting should be charged as an armed accomplice.

Arbery was killed on 23 February as he ran through a neighbourhood in Brunswick - but no charges were brought for more than two months.

Then last week a 36-second video emerged appearing to show the shooting, and shortly after the leak the McMichaels were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

The elder McMichael said he thought Arbery looked like a suspect in a series of recent break-ins, according to a police report.

The open letter was from the social justice arm of rapper Jay-Zs Roc Nation entertainment company and published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It said: "By now, we've all seen the crime's disturbing video, so the facts here are not in doubt: He was unarmed and innocent and the victim of a hate crime.

"Which is why we call upon you today, as official leaders of the great state of Georgia, and with the entire world watching, to ensure that a fair trial is conducted, as that can only lead to the appropriate felony convictions of both McMichaels.

"We also implore you to charge William Bryan as an armed accomplice to the crime."

It added: "We truly appreciate that you have arrested and charged these men with Ahmaud's murder, and are hopeful that a trial and conviction will show that, in the state that gave us Dr Martin Luther King Jr... Dr King's words do ring true: 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice'."

The letter was also signed by rappers Mario "Yo Gotti" Mims and Robert "Meek Mill" Williams as well as two lawyers.

Yo Gotti said: "We are all Ahmaud Arbery. Everyday activities should not end in death sentences.

"We must hold people responsible for their actions. Ahmaud Arbery was unarmed and innocent and his killers must be brought to justice."

Singer Alicia Keys said: "If anybody saw that horrifying video of his killing, it is heartbreaking, unbelievably unacceptable and inhumane.

"No human being should be murdered and not receive justice. I have black sons and they should be able to go on a jog or anywhere they want without the risk of being killed."

Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her son, a former high school football player, was jogging in the neighbourhood before he was killed.

He has been described by those who knew him as a "very good young man".

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