Armed protesters, many fully masked and carrying assault rifles, rallied on Nov. 22 outside the Georgia courthouse where the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial is taking place. The groups claimed to be from the New Black Panther Party and the New Black Liberation Militia.
The New Black Panther Party is a Black nationalist organization founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1989. It is not an official successor to the Black Panther Party of the 1960s. The New Black Liberation Militia is a militant group based in Atlanta.
Black Lives Matter 757 called for protesters to return on Nov. 23 to the Glynn County Courthouse, where prosecutors finished giving their closing remarks before sending the jury off to start their deliberations on the three white men charged with Arbery’s murder.
Arbery, 25, was fatally shot as he jogged in a Georgia neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael had grabbed guns and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck, claiming they thought Arbery had broken into homes.
A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the two in the chase and recorded the video of Travis opening fire as Arbery threw punches and grabbed McMichael’s shotgun. No one was charged in the killing until Bryan’s video leaked and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local law enforcement. All three men are accused of murder and other offenses.
“They made the decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury in her initial closing arguments Nov. 22.
Meanwhile, protesters gathered outside the courtroom demanding justice for Arbery.
“Revolution has come — time to pick up the gun,” the group chanted, according to videos by Scootercaster, with many in the group giving fist salutes as they also chanted, “Black power will keep us safe.”
“Y’all are in serious trouble because the wrath of karma is coming on America,” said a man with the name badge Cmdr N. Muhammad. Muhammad called himself the supreme commander of the New Black Liberation Militia, The New York Post reported.
“Outside of the Ahmaud Arbery trial courthouse, New Black Panther Party spokesman Minister Mikhail Muhammad said, ‘We have to develop a squad of undercover hit-men to go after these goddamn killers,’ Suburban Black Man @goodblackdude tweeted along with a video of the protest.
In the video, a man who described himself as Minister Mikhail Muhammad of the new Black Panther Party warned, “We have to say to the government, you have failed in your duty to protect Black people for 400 years. You have participated, you have supported white supremacist organizations.” He continued, “We are saying we have to stand up today…and get busy about self-defense and develop a squad of hitmen to go after these goddamn killers.”
The defense tried to use the presence of the protesters to call for a mistrial.
“This is no longer a figurative mob. This is a literal mob,” Defense attorney Kevin Gough told Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley.
But the judge denied his request for a mistrial, saying, “Individuals have a right to be outside the courthouse.”
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