Arbery, Juan De Cooper Jones, Marcus Arbery discussed on Morning Edition


The courthouse steps in prayer Local clergy laid hands on his shoulders I just felt led to pray at that time Because it's a crucial moment in our culture I think the nation's history Artiste drove up from Jacksonville Florida for the day He says he was moved by Arbery's family's strength Really the most important part to me was to see some of the relief on the face of the family the grieving family I think that gets missed It's not just a trial about race or culture or ideology It's a family that lost someone Standing with Arbery's parents Juan de Cooper Jones and Marcus Arbery on the courthouse steps the reverend Al sharpton noted that for them this will be a somber day of thanks There will be an empty chair at Wanda's table Yes Ahmed would not be at Thanksgiving but she can look at that chair And say to Ahmed I fought a good fight Yeah And I got you some Justin The journey is not over Arbery's killers will go on trial early next year for federal hate crimes Debbie Elliott NPR news Brunswick Georgia John Perry joins us next He's a senior pastor of Mount Sinai missionary baptist church in Brunswick Georgia and he joined the Arbery family during the trial Welcome to the program sir Thank you Good morning to you and Happy Thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving to you sir Debbie Elliott's report included a description there of a T-shirt that said justice served Was it Yes it was It was a breathtaking moment as a community leader one of the things that we did was really encourage our community Let's go through this process the right way And so when the verdict was given it was literally breathtaking A lot of weight lifted off of my shoulders as a leader encouraging people to maintain peace in such a hostile event that took place here at what our community When you say hostile event do you mean the attack itself the murder itself or the way the wider community responded to those who want a justice Well the attack primarily It was a gross act of balance that we're not really accustomed to hear as a community And then the absence of an arresting immediately caused people within the community to be outraged and so initially it took some doing to get everyone calm and get everyone on that same page of pursuing justice the right way Let's remind people about that This was a killing that was little noticed at the time and there were not initially charges and then after a little while a video was leaked that gave people some idea of what really had happened there and then authorities stepped in and then charges were filed and then a trial proceeded When you look back on all of that would you say the system worked Well the mod object killing revealed to us that we had a lot of work to do with our local system It was impossible to project that Michaels would do such a heinous act And you can never predict when the individual is going to assault another individual But if that does happen you're depending on your local justice system to step in And to make it right in our case there was no arrest made literally we waited over 70 days for there to be an arrest made and that arrest that was made It had to happen from state officials because our local officials at the time were not willing to do the job that taxpayers put them in place to do I have local officials acknowledged that maybe they should have approached this case differently Well we've had different individuals from within different divisions to make statements of regret or sympathy but holistically We never got a statement from our county commissioners who oversee the county police department Now the citizens did rally together to make significant changes as a result of the things that happened in the Ahmad arbor case We have a new chief of police now Two of the county commissioners that served at that time were obsessed And so we're seeing some positive changes as a result of this because the community has been awakened and recognized that they have to be a part of the process We just got about a minute left but I want to end with ahmaud Arbery himself I gather you've known his family for years I'm told that your son played basketball with him once upon a time He was killed at the age of 25 In a couple of sentences for those who didn't know him what was he like What my son played football with Ahmad Aubrey and one of the statements that he told me initially when he found out he said dad what are you all are going to do about this Because he was a good young man He encouraged everyone around him and always with someone that would put a smile on the face of others Had a wonderful sense of humor And so the idea that they would paint the narrative of this younger man's life by saying that he was committing a burglary was outright unthinkable Pastor John Perry a Brunswick Georgia it's a pleasure talking with you on this Thanksgiving morning Thanks for spending some time with us Thank you for.

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