Prominent voices react to Georgia shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, arrests

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Video footage shows the fatal encounter between Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and Ahmaud Arbery. The McMichaels say it was self-defense and had followed Arbery in their truck because they believed he was responsible for a string of burglaries in Satilla Shores. Arbery was unarmed and jogging in the Brunswick neighborhood in February.

Outrage over the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery has made its way from Georgia to Hollywood, with artists, athletes and political figures speaking out on social media.

“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!” NBA superstar LeBron James posted on Twitter. “Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!?”

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were charged with murder and aggravated assault and were to be booked in the Glynn County Jail, the GBI announced Thursday night. Earlier in the day, GBI agents were seen canvassing the neighborhood where the incident occurred.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was among the prominent figures reacting to the news.

Arbery, who was black, was shot and killed in the Brunswick area on Feb. 23 after an encounter with the McMichaels. Both men, who are white, were armed. They told authorities they suspected Arbery of burglaries, and that he became violent when confronted.

A cellphone video that’s gone viral this week captured Arbery’s final moments. In the beginning of the roughly 36-second clip, Arbery is seen jogging at a leisurely pace when he comes upon the two armed men in a white pickup truck. At the end of the clip, several shots having rung out, Arbery collapses.

Reaction was swift Thursday night in the county where the shooting happened.

“These are the first steps toward justice for Ahmaud and the right direction toward healing our community,” said Glynn County Commissioner Alan Booker.

» RELATED: Death of Georgia jogger prompts calls for state hate-crimes law

» CONTINUING COVERAGE: The shooting of Ahmaud Arbery

In a Tweet, Gov. Brian Kemp applauded the work of GBI investigators, writing “Justice will be served.” State Attorney General Chris Carr also said he was grateful for the arrests.

 

The Georgia NAACP also reacted on social media to the arrests, stating, “The race for justice has just begun, let's keep running.”

The video sparked national outrage and high-profile attention from social media masters including Kim Kardashian West:

 

Actresses Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Alyssa Milano and Gabrielle Union and comedian Leslie Jones were also among those posting about the shooting, some using the hashtag #JusticeForAhmaudArbery.

Zoe Kravitz posted to Instagram an image of Arbery that read in part: “Please do not forget me. My name is Ahmaud Arbery.”

Here in Atlanta, pastor Andy Stanley has been among those speaking out:

Ellen DeGeneres posted this message:

Dave Bautista had this to say:

Brunswick attorney Alan Tucker announced Thursday he had been the one to release the video.

“There had been very little information provided by the police department or the district attorney’s office, but there was entirely too much speculation, rumor, false narratives, and outright lies surrounding this event,” he said.

The shooting was discussed Thursday morning on “The View,” with host Whoopi Goldberg calling on President Donald Trump to address the shooting.

“I am saying now, here, from my space, you need to say something, sir,” Goldberg said. “You need to say it and you need to say it pretty soon.”

Trump spoke about the shooting Thursday afternoon in his daily briefing, but said he had not seen the video.

“My heart goes out to the parents and to the loved ones of the young gentleman,” Trump said. “It’s a very sad thing.”

— Please return to ajc.com for updates. 

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Ahmaud Arbery was killed on Feb. 23 in Brunswick, Georgia.