Last week, Kevin Gough, the defense attorney for William Bryan, one of three white men on trial for the death of Ahmaud Arbery, said he didn’t want “more Black pastors” in the courtroom. He is getting the exact opposite.
According to WTOC, civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, 80, arrived today (Nov. 15) at the Glynn County, Georgia courthouse to support the family of Ahmaud Arbery. Jackson said during a news conference at the St. Paul CME Church, “We are better together. We are better than we ever been before. We have to learn to live together or die apart as fools.”
Jackson also participated in a prayer vigil at the courthouse. See the footage below of Jackson arriving to the Georgia courthouse:
On Nov. 11, defense attorney Kevin Gough went viral after he said, while the jury was not in the courtroom, “The idea that we’re going to be serially bringing these people in to sit with the victim’s family one after another. Obviously there’s only so many pastors they can have, and if their pastor is Al Sharpton right now, that’s fine, that’s it, we don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here.”
He continued, “I have nothing personal against Al Sharpton. It’s one thing for the family to be present, it’s another thing to ask for the lawyers to be present, but if we’re going to start a precedent starting yesterday where we’re going to bring high-profile members of the African American community to sit with the family during the trial in the presence of the jury, I believe that’s intimidating, and it’s an attempt to pressure.”
By Nov. 12, according to WTOC, Gough issued an apology before the court, “I will let the court know that if my statements yesterday were overly broad, I will follow up with a more specific motion on Monday putting those concerns in the proper context and my apologies to anyone who might have inadvertently been offended.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been supporting the family since last year, said in a Nov. 12 statement, “The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough in asking a judge to bar me or any minister of the family’s choice underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need [of] spiritual and community support.”
Sharpton is also calling for clergy from all denominations to meet him outside of the courthouse on Thursday, Nov. 18 to stand with the family and attorneys for Ahmaud Arbery.
Prosecutors say on February 23, 2020, Greg and Travis McMichael, a white father and son, armed themselves and pursued Arbery, 25, in a pickup truck after seeing him running in their neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Ga.
Following behind, neighbor William Bryan recorded the incident, taking cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun. The pair said they believed Arbery was a burglar.
Immediately following the shooting, both the McMichaels and Bryan remained free and were not charged until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case. In May 2020, all three were charged with murder. They have all pleaded not guilty. Additionally, all three men have been indicted on federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges.