‘Breakdown’ Ep. 8: He ran. And ran. And ran.

Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, speaks to "Breakdown" about her son's killing one year ago. The podcast's latest episode looks at who Arbery was, and explores a 2017 incident Arbery had with law enforcement. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
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Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, speaks to "Breakdown" about her son's killing one year ago. The podcast's latest episode looks at who Arbery was, and explores a 2017 incident Arbery had with law enforcement. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

Credit: Stephen B. Morton

Who was Ahmaud Arbery? One year after his death, his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones describes her son’s challenges.

Ahmaud Arbery was a jokester with an infectious smile. He was an inspirational teammate. He was the friend or relative who boosted your spirits when you were down.

He also spent time in what he called his dark place. He suffered from a mental illness, schizoaffective disorder, but he did not allow it to immobilize him. He developed his own treatment: He ran. And ran. And ran.

The latest episode of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast focuses on Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, the 25-year-old Black man who was shot and killed Feb. 23, 2020, just outside of Brunswick. Three white men – Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and Roddie Bryan – are charged with Arbery’s murder and are awaiting trial in jail having been denied bond.

In an interview, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, recounts the phone call she received from a Glynn County detective who told her her son was dead.

ExploreComplete coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case

“I was just in a numb state,” she said. “It’s a feeling I think I’ve never felt before, and one I never want to feel again.”

As for her son, Cooper-Jones said, “He had his challenges, but we all have our challenges. But he didn’t deserve to die like that.”

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

The episode also explores an alarming incident that occurred Nov. 7, 2017, at a park in Brunswick. That’s when a police officer approached Arbery, who was sitting in his car listening to music and minding his own business. By the time the confrontation is over, another police officer had arrived and tried to Tase Arbery at a time he was standing back with his arms spread out wide. Arbery was fortunate the officer’s Taser malfunctioned.

ExploreAhmaud Arbery’s mother reflects on son’s death, one year later