In response to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, NAACP Atlanta is calling for an investigation into the history of inequality in the criminal justice system in the Glynn and Waycross Georgia circuits that have demonstrated racial bias in the application of the law. The organization intends to examine the prosecutions of black defendants and the handling of the complaints of black victims for the past 20 years.
A variety of speakers supporting the investigations are calling for immediate action including:
Atlanta 2nd VP Attorney Gerald Griggs
Director Vic Reynolds, Georgia Bureau of Investigations
District Attorney Joyette Holmes, Cobb County
Rev. Timothy McDonald, Past President of Concerned Black Clergy
As the Coronavirus pandemic has focused national attention on income and health disparities among the races, so has the Ahmaud Arbery murder reignited the outcry over the long-standing pattern of unarmed black men being shot to death with impunity by law enforcement officials or rogue vigilantes. The history of extrajudicial killings of unarmed black men has deep roots throughout the south but also happens in other regions of the country, where far too often, the perpetrators face no consequences.
Investigations of these judicial circuits will produce data that can guide lawmakers to take steps that will end this disparate treatment of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers and their copycats.
Ahmaud Arbery’s tragic death puts in him in a long line of recent high profile murders across the United States that include Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, executed by white policemen or vigilantes. In Arbery’s case, the arrest of his killers took over two months and came after the release of a video showing his murder and the resulting outcry the video generated.
America has built a system of preferential treatment based on race and religion that infects the criminal justice system: Nationally, for every 100,000 African American more than 2,200 are incarcerated. In addition, this system based on the notion of white supremacy also has created a poverty rate for black Americans second only to Native Americans, many of whom live on reservations without power or running water.
This entrenched system of preferential treatment based on race and religion determines educational resources, admission to college, when and where to serve alcohol, who will be employed, who will have access to health care, and who will be arrested, who will be allowed bond, and who will be convicted and jailed