Defense Lawyers In Ahmaud Arbery's Murder Trial Are Relying On Racial Profiling And Microaggressions

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Kevin Gough, Ahmaud Arbery, Laura Hogue

Closing arguments in the Ahmaud Arbery have begun, and many people are calling out the racism that has persisted in the trial from the defense attorneys.

The attorneys for Gregory and Travis McMichael, who were both charged for Arbery’s muder, have repeatedly tried to paint Arbery as a criminal during the trial.

Laura Hogue, one of Gregory McMichael’s lawyers, took it a step further after making a comment about Arbery’s toenails.

“Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails," Hogue said to the jury.

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The comment immediately elicited a cry of outrage from protestors and Arbery’s family, with many pointing out the racial microaggression within Hogue’s comment.

It was a disrespectful and horriific comment to make that has nothing to do with the murder of Arbery. 

Defense attorneys in Ahmaud Arbery's murder trial have relied on racism and microagression throughout the case.

The description of his toenails were unnecessary, but were also extremely intentional as it was Hogue’s attempt at trying to poke holes in Arbery’s appearance and tarnish the fact that he’s the victim in the trial.

Hogue’s comments essentially stemmed from the autopsy of Arbery’s body in which he states, “the toenails are long and very dirty.”

Of course, these aren’t the first racially-motivated remarks made by the defense team.

RELATED: Travis McMichael Admits Ahmaud Arbery Never Threatened Him After Calling Shooting A ‘Life Or Death’ Situation

One attorney compared Black pastor to KKK members.

Kevin Gough, an attorney for William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, has also been criticized for attempting to have “high-profile African Americans” thrown out of the courtroom.

A lawyer for Bryan also expressed skepticism over the pool of potential jurors, saying it “lacked white men over 40 without a four-year college degree.”

Kevin Gough called the demographic ‘Bubbas or Joe six-packs,’ and even equated Black pastors with Klansmen.

Gough claimed he’s concerned that someone as famous as Rev. Al Sharpton, who was in attendance in the Georgia Courtroom earlier in the trial, could introduce politics into the case and influence the jury.

“We don't want any more Black pastors coming in here, or other Jesse Jacksons, whoever was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim's family trying to influence a jury in this case,” Gough said.

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Gough continued his tirade, saying: ““If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Colonel Sanders with white masks sitting in the back, I mean, that would be—,” before finally being cut off by Judge Timothy Walmsley.

The defence have repeatedly victim-blamed Ahmaud Arbery.

The defense team for the three men who were involved in the brutal murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery have become known for trying to ignore the racial aspects of the case.

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They’ve attempted to justify the shooting, claiming that Travis McMichael, who pulled the trigger, had every right to because he was scared of the break-ins happening in his neighborhood.

Attorney Jason Sheffield said his client did nothing wrong when he and his father, Gregory McMichael, chased after Arbery on February 23, 2020.

The two men chased Arbery for five minutes, before using their truck to cut him off and run him off the road to prevent him from further fleeing.

Gough even suggested that Arbery should have called for help while he was running for his life.

“Why isn’t he calling out, `Hey, somebody call 911! There’s crazy people after me,’” Gough said. “Maybe that’s because Mr. Arbery doesn’t want help.”

The details of this trial have everything to do with race, as Arbery was profiled and chased to his death by three white men.

The defense team trying to ignore the factual evidence and spin the story in a way that tries to paint Arbery as the victim and someone who presumably deserved to die is disrespectful and downright horrific.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.