The State of Georgia has been the subject of much ridicule over the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case, with many allegations of state-wide racism akin to the days of the old south.
At first glance, many could see some similarities. However, we should not condemn the entire state because of two ass-backward district attorney's offices and police departments.
Now, the actions of the authorities who “investigated” this lynching were appalling; any person of conscience can see the obvious. I am not going to focus on what everyone is talking about. That being said, I want to focus on a few positive things.
Once the GBI and other state officials heard about the incident, immediate corrective action was taken. Within 30 hours, the two shooters were arrested and charged with murder. Our Attorney General then referred the matter to the United States Justice Department for a civil rights and hate crimes investigation. Additionally, a professional prosecutor, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes has been appointed to prosecute the case.
So, in just a few days, there has been a complete turn-around in the case. Again, I am not making little of the fact that two completely ass-backward jurisdictions dropped the ball.
However, we should spend a moment thinking about how far Georgia has come. Once the rest of the state took notice of this case, it was taken seriously. Our Attorney General took it seriously, the GBI took it seriously, and the Governor took it seriously. The citizens of Georgia were universally disgusted, and the matter was not swept under the rug.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I am often the first to criticize our leaders and people in the criminal justice system, but when praise is due, I will offer it. This is the new Georgia. This is where we can correct wrongs when we see them. No one I know supports lynching in the street. The McMichaels will be prosecuted and convicted. Neither will see freedom for the rest of their lives. The entire state of Georgia does not deserve ridicule here. Like anywhere, there are a few bad actors, but we have many people of good conscience, judgment, and heart.