BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WSAV) – A large crowd gathered in Brunswick Friday to rally for justice in the name of shooting victim Ahmaud Arbery, who would have been turning 26.
Protesters gathered outside the Glynn County courthouse to hear from several speakers and local NAACP members.
Many called for the removal of Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who recused herself from the case. One of the men arrested in Arbery’s death worked in her office.
“We already had speculations things wouldn’t go fair in the beginning but because we are a family that trusts God, we just prayed,” Arbery’s aunt, Thea Brooks said, adding, “We protested the other day when the video came out and we’re just here in light of Ahmaud.”
Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23. His family says he was jogging through a neighborhood.
After calls for justice spurred from the recent release of the video of the altercation, authorities arrested Gregory McMichael and his son Travis Thursday in Glynn County.
The McMichaels told police they saw Arbery in their neighborhood and thought he matched the description of a burglary suspect.
The father and son, both armed, followed Arbery in their pickup truck. After trying to get Arbery to stop, he and Travis McMichael got into an altercation when fatal shots were fired.
Gregory and Travis McMichael have been charged with murder and aggravated assault.
“You took someone who was near and dear to our hearts,” Brooks said. “We’re just torn apart — you just don’t even know what you did.”
A Superior Court judge will have to decide whether to grant them bond.
Friday’s rally ended in a celebration of Arbery’s life. In honor of his birthday, a Stevie Wonder song played as many sang and danced.
“Ahmaud is happy right now,” Brooks said. “He’s rejoicing in heaven with his grandpa and the others who went on before us, so he’s happy, too.”
Contributions to this report made by Lewis Levine, Coastal News Service