Kevin Gough, a lawyer who defends William "Roddie" Bryan, one of three white men on trial for the death of Ahmaud Arbery, has gone viral for his comments about Black pastors in a public Georgia courtroom.
“The idea that we’re going to be serially bringing these people in to sit with the victim’s family one after another,” Gough said while the jury was not in the courtroom.
“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.”
See the clip below:
Yesterday (Nov. 10), Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been advocating for the Arbery family since last year, spoke with reporters about the disproportionate white makeup of the jury. There is only one Black man on the jury.
“It’s an insult to the intelligence of the American people,” Sharpton said. “If you can count to 12 and only get to one that’s Black, you know something’s wrong.”
According to USA Today, after the jury was selected on Nov. 3, Judge Timothy Walmsley said,
"This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination.”
He also added that in the state of Georgia "all the defense needs to do is provide that legitimate, nondiscriminatory, clear, reasonably specific and related reason.” Walmsley believed the defense met that burden and will not intervene, despite prosecutors requesting for eight Black jurors to be reinstated.
While Arbery was killed in Brunswick, the trial is being held in Glynn County, Georgia, which is 26% Black and 69% white, according to the US Census Bureau.
Additionally, on Nov. 10, a Glynn County police sergeant revealed that one of the defendants told him that 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbey was “trapped like a rat” before he was fatally shot.
According to the Associated Press, Glynn County police Sgt. Roderic Nohilly testified on Nov. 10 that Greg McMichael told him at police headquarters that Abery “wasn’t out for no Sunday jog. He was getting the hell out of there,” according to a transcript of their recorded interview, which took place just hours after Arbery’s death, that was read in court.
“He was trapped like a rat,” Greg McMichael said. “I think he was wanting to flee and he realized that something, you know, he was not going to get away.”
According to the transcript, Greg McMichael also stated to Nohilly, “He had an opportunity to flee further, you know. We had chased him around the neighborhood a bit, but he wasn’t winded at all. I mean this guy was, he was in good shape.”
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 “Roddie” 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, 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.