According to CNN, in the trial for the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a panel of jurors was selected on November 3, consisting of only one Black juror and 11 white members.
The jury was chosen after a strenuous two-and-a-half-week selection process which saw prosecutors for the state accusing defense attorneys of disproportionately disqualifying Black jurors and discriminating against some of them based on race.
Judge Timothy Walmsley said the defense seemed discriminatory in choosing the jury but that the case would still move forward.
“This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination,” Walmsley said.
The court discussed and debated for over two hours about the defense’s reasoning for striking potential Black jurors before Walmsley ultimately moved against the state’s motion and ruled there were valid reasons, despite race, for why the jurors weren’t selected.
“One of the challenges that I think counsel recognized in this case is the racial overtones in the case. … This is sort of the continuation of a conversation that I think will continue for a long time, with respect to this case,” the judge said but added that in Georgia, “all the defense needs to do is provide that legitimate, nondiscriminatory, clear, reasonably specific and related reason,” for why they dismissed a juror and added that the defense met that criteria.
In Glynn County, where the trial is taking place, over 26 percent out of the 85,000 residents are Black, and about 69 percent are white, according to 2019 data from the US Census Bureau. Out of the 16 jurors chosen, which included four alternates, five were men, and 11 were women.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said she felt “shocked” at the result of their being only one Black juror. “I mean, that was devastating,” she said.
The jurors will decide whether Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, as well as their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., are to be found guilty of malice and felony murder. As previously reported, they are accused of chasing and fatally shooting 25-year-old Arbery while he was jogging on February 23, 2020.