Ahmaud Arbery Trial Has 11 White Jurors Despite Glynn County Being 25 Percent Black

Prosecutors in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery have criticized the defense team after only one Black juror was selected for the case in which race looks certain to play a huge factor.

Following a grueling process which lasted two and a half weeks, an overwhelmingly white jury will decide in the fate of white defendants Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan, who are accused of murdering the Black jogger after chasing him down streets in Georgia in February 2020.

On Wednesday, the defense team considered 48 possible jurors, 12 of whom were Black and the remaining 36 white. The team eventually used 11 of their strikes to remove all but one of the potential Black jurors.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski argued that the defense lawyers had struck eight Black potential jurors because of their race, something which the attorneys denied.

According to The Washington Post, the defense team gave several reasons beyond race for objecting to the jurors, including one because he knew the victim personally and another who said Arbery was "hunted" and "killed like an animal" by the defendants.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said that while there "appears to be intentional discrimination" with regards to jury selection, he will allow it to continue because the defense were able to provide "legitimate, nondiscriminatory, clear, reasonably specific and related reason," for why they struck a juror, reported CNN.

The judge also said 25 percent of the pool from which the final jury was chosen was Black, which is in line with the population of Glynn County.

According to 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 26 percent of the 85,000 residents of Glynn County are Black, and just over 69 percent being white.

In a statement to Newsweek, Ben Crump, an attorney for Arbery's family, said a jury in any trial should "reflect the wider community," and "Brunswick is 55 percent Black, so it's outrageous that Black jurors were intentionally excluded to create such an imbalanced jury in a cynical effort to help these cold-blooded killers escape justice."

Lee Merritt, another lawyer for Arbery's family, said it was "the strangest jury selection process I have ever seen" and accused some of the defense team's questions towards potential jurors as "badgering."

"We understand there are some unique circumstances," Merritt said, via The New York Times.

"There's very few people who wouldn't have heard about this case. Most have developed an opinion about the case. So I understand that the attorneys in general will have some questions that we're not used to."

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery's mother, said she was "shocked" there was only one Black juror as she left the courtroom on Wednesday.

"I mean, that was devastating," she said.

Arbery, 25, was killed while jogging in a neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, 2020. Gregory McMichael, 65, and his 35-year-old son pursued Arbery in pickup-up truck along with Bryan, 52.

The suspects claimed they chased Arbery believing he was a suspect alleged to have been involved in several break-ins in the local area and that Travis McMichael fired at the 25-year-old with a shotgun in self-defense following an altercation when they caught up with him.

All three men charged with the killing pleaded not guilty to federal charges in March this year.

The suspects were not charged until more than two months after Arbery was killed after video of the incident went viral online, prompting questions about how the original investigation was dealt with.

The trial is due to begin on Friday, November 5.

Ahmaud Arbery jury
Janice Braggs holds a sign at the Glynn County Courthouse as jury selection begins in the trial of the defendants in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on October 18, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia. Sean Rayford/Getty Images