Opening statements for the Ahmaud Arbery trial began Friday.
Among the prosecution’s arguments, led by Linda Dunikoski, was that William Bryan was not merely a concerned citizen filming the encounter, as he has argued.
Bryan joined Travis and Gregory McMichael in following Arbery, the unarmed Black man who was running in Brunswick, Georgia when the 3 white men confronted him.
As Arbery ran away from the McMichaels, he encountered Bryan, who attempted to hit him four different times with his pick up truck, forcing Arbery into a ditch, Dunikoski argued, noting that the 29-year-old was “under attack.”
Among the charges against Bryan are false imprisonment and aggravated assault for using his car as a deadly weapon. Per the prosecution, Bryan also redirected Arbery towards the McMichaels, who killed him.
Defense has made the argument that the men were responding to concerns about burglaries in the area.
Dunikoski’s opening argument was haunting, recreating the moments up until Arbery’s death. In the proceedings, she highlighted that each defendant made a “driveway decision” to leave their home and chase Arbery based on assumptions, with “no immediate knowledge of anything or any crime that Mr. Arbery committed that day,” she said.
They were also aware that Arbery wasn’t a suspect in any burglaries based on conversations with police days before the killing, she told the jury.
Dunikoski recounted a separate conversation Greg McMichael had with police after he shot and killed Arbery.
“I don’t think the guy has actually stolen anything out of there,” Greg McMichael said, referring to a house under construction that Arbery had been seen visiting.
“Did this guy break into a house today?” an officer replied.
“That’s just it, I don’t know,” McMichael answered.
Jury selection in the trial has come under fire for being nearly all-white. Other charges the men face include malice murder, felony murder, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
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