Lawyers for the men charged in the 2020 shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery have filed several motions ahead of a murder trial, one of which requests that Abrery not be referred to as a “victim,” claiming it would be prejudicial.
"Due process requires minimal injection of error or prejudice into these proceedings. Use of terms such as 'victim' allows the focus to shift to the accused rather than remain on the proof of every element of the crimes charged," the attorneys wrote.
Another motion requests that spectators not wear apparel with slogans like “Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe,” “Justice for George Floyd,” “I Run With Maud” and “Justice for Ahmaud” while in the courtroom.
"It is the right of those supporters to wear whatever clothing they choose, to hold up any sign they wish, and to chant whatever slogan they like outside the courtroom. That is the beauty of our First Amendment. But once inside the courthouse, the sanctity of the defendants' right to a fair and impartial trial trumps the First Amendment," the motion states.
Lawyers also asked that photos of Arbery be limited to one during proceedings.
Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020, while he was jogging through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. Video shows the McMichaels pursuing Arbery in a truck as he jogged.
After catching up to Arbery, cell phone video shows Travis McMichael brandish a firearm. McMichael later fatally shot Arbery after a struggle.
Records show that Gregory McMichael told police following the shooting that he believed that Arbery may have been responsible for a string of thefts in the neighborhood.
No arrests were made in connection with Arbery’s death for several months. The McMichaels were arrested on May 7, and charged with felony murder on May 21.
William “Roddy” Bryan — the man who recorded the cell phone video of the shooting — was arrested in connection with the incident on May 21. He’s accused of blocking Arbery with his car, preventing him from escaping a confrontation with the McMichaels.
It’s unclear when the murder trial will begin.