Washington, D.C., February 23, 2021 - One year after Ahmaud Arbery was killed while running in suburban Georgia, Brady reiterates its call for justice in his name. The details that have emerged in the past year have underscored the dangerous intersection of racism, white supremacy, and firearms. Ahmaud Arbery was only 25 years old when he was followed and killed in broad daylight by two white men who wrongly believed that he was a threat and decided to take the law into their own hands. While the case against these men is ongoing, it is clear that the dark history of white vigilantism against Black Americans led to Arbery’s death. Brady reiterates the call for justice in his name and for his friends and family.
Brady Senior Counsel and Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:
“One year ago exactly, several white men tracked and killed Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through a suburban neighborhood. I have no doubt that insidious white supremacist stereotypes, in part, led these men to characteize Arbery as a threat and emboldened them to execute him in cold blood. As President Biden stated during the 2020 election, Arbery was ‘essentially lynched.’
The facts are clear and, though this case continues to wind its way through the legal system, both the evidence and the perpetrators’ defense suggest that entrenched white supremacy and easy access to firearms facilitated Arbery’s death. Throughout our history, this deadly combination — white supremacy and easy access to guns — has claimed the lives of countless people of color across the United States. Today’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, or in Arbery’s case, ‘citizen’s arrest’ laws, continue this bloody legacy and threaten the safety of Black and Brown people everyday — even as they go for a jog.
Although nothing will ever replace his loss, Arbery’s family deserves accountability. Brady stands with them and with the many activists across Georgia who worked to bring attention to this crime for several months before a video of Arbery’s murder attracted national attention and galvanized legal action against his killers, and who have continued to aggitate for justice in the past year. We cannot accept the murder of Black and Brown people merely for existing - or exercising. We need justice for Ahmaud Arbery and we need an end to racist and dangerous laws like Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law.”
About Stand Your Ground Laws:
Beginning with Florida in 2005, a number of states have enacted Stand Your Ground laws, which fundamentally altered the law of self-defense. Traditionally, the law of self-defense put a premium on protecting life; the law imposed on private citizens a duty to try, if possible, to retreat from a dangerous confrontation prior to deploying lethal force in self-defense with a narrow exception for confrontations occurring in their homes.
These laws were promoted by the NRA and the gun lobby in furtherance of the myth that the Second Amendment encompasses the right to armed confrontation and that guns increase public safety by reducing crime. These laws were also drafted and passed without any consideration of the fact that they would embolden racially- motivated vigilantism like the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. These laws undermine public safety and encourage reckless gun owners to believe that even if they could avoid a lethal confrontation, they can kill someone and later claim self-defense to avoid being held responsible for taking the lives of individuals — particularly people of color — they falsely perceive as a threat.
The dark reality of Stand Your Ground laws is clear:
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.