‘Breakdown’ Ep. 16: ‘We don’t want any more Black pastors’

Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, right, wipes his eyes alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton center, as Ben Crump, left, one the family's lawyers, speaks outside the Glynn County courthouse. Sharpton's presence at the trial drew complaints from Kevin Gough, the lawyer for William "Roddie" Bryan. The 16th episode of the AJC's "Breakdown" podcast examines deveopments in the trial's first full week. (Terry Dickson / AP)
Caption
Ahmaud Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, right, wipes his eyes alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton center, as Ben Crump, left, one the family's lawyers, speaks outside the Glynn County courthouse. Sharpton's presence at the trial drew complaints from Kevin Gough, the lawyer for William "Roddie" Bryan. The 16th episode of the AJC's "Breakdown" podcast examines deveopments in the trial's first full week. (Terry Dickson / AP)

Credit: Terry Dickson

Credit: Terry Dickson

Testimony in the trial of three men accused with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery began in earnest as the state presented its case.

Glynn County police officers recounted their interviews with Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan at the scene of the killing and later at police headquarters.

The jury also heard important testimony from Larry English, who owned the unsecured home under construction that the 25-year-old, unarmed Arbery exited before he was chased down and killed with shotgun blasts.

The McMichaels and Bryan are on trial for the Feb. 23, 2020, fatal shooting. They contend they were trying to detain Arbery by using a valid citizen’s arrest.

Throughout the week, the defense tried to cling onto anything that would have raised suspicions Arbery was fleeing a scene where he had committed a felony. Conversely, state prosecutors sought to show jurors the McMichaels, who were armed, and Bryan, who took the infamous cellphone video, had no reason to believe that Arbery was up to no good.

The highly publicized trial became much more so on Thursday when Kevin Gough, Bryan’s lawyer, complained about civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton sitting in the courtroom with Arbery’s family. Gough said the presence of Sharpton and other Black preachers could influence and intimidate the jury.

ExploreComplete coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case

Gough looked to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley and said, “We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here.”

Many following the trial — including the lawyer representing Travis McMichael — swiftly condemned Gough’s request. Walmsley denied it, saying he was not going to issue a blanket order barring any member of the public from the courtroom.

ExploreListen to previous seasons of the AJC's 'Breakdown' podcast