Earlier this week, a jury convicted Travis and Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan for the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. This case embodied the darkest and most troubling aspects of our culture and criminal justice system. A “concerned citizen” who viewed the world through the lens of racism and armed with privilege and a weapon, engaged in vigilantism harkening back to the lynchings of the not-so-distant past. Law enforcement that was slow to arrest the perpetrators of a heinous, racially motivated crime, and a prosecutor who delayed charging those perpetrators. This case highlighted what communities of color have experienced for many years: the criminal justice system appears to operate differently at times when the victim of a crime is black.
With this verdict, the family of Ahmaud Arbery received the kind of justice so many before them have not. This verdict, along with the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, hopefully signals a long overdue shift in our nation’s consciousness, and we cannot let the momentum of change that began in May of 2020 be reduced to just a “moment”. We must hold one another accountable. We must continue to demand truth and transparency from our law enforcement community, action from our elected officials, advocacy from our oversight agencies, and compassion and understanding from our neighbors and friends.
The Police Advisory Commission is committed to ensuring that all residents can rely on our Police to put their motto into action; Honor, Integrity & Service. As PAC transitions into the new Citizens Police Oversight Commission, we call on all City residents to join us in working toward this important goal.