Presidential Candidates Break Silence Over Ahmaud Arbery Death

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has addressed the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a man who was killed in Georgia by two armed citizens.

Arbery’s death was presumed to be racially charged as the two men who killed him were white and he was black. The incident occurred in February but has since been covered by major news outlets across the country and public outcry recently sparked the arrests of the men involved (they were initially not charged with a crime).

Biden commented on the death during a virtual roundtable. He said Arbery was “essentially lynched before our very eyes,” the Washington Examiner reports, as the entire incident was recorded and has since been uploaded to social media.

He said the death was part of a “rising pandemic of hate.”

“By now, many of us have seen that harrowing footage of Ahmaud Arbery out on a jog on a beautiful day in February in Florida, in Georgia, shot down in cold blood, essentially lynched before our very eyes, 2020 style,” Biden added.

The former Vice President also called for a “transparent investigation of this brutal murder.”

In a follow-up tweet, Biden said: “The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood.”

“My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder,” he added.

From the Washington Examiner:

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It was the first time Biden publicly spoke about the Arbery case.

Arbery, 25, was running in a suburban Georgia neighborhood when Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, grabbed firearms and chased him down because they said they thought he was burglarizing houses. After a struggle, part of which is revealed in a graphic video, Arbery was shot dead.

The McMichaels were not arrested at the time, but after release of the video, a district attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit said in a statement that he favored a grand jury investigation. A prosecutor previously assigned to the case had argued that the men were acting in self-defense and were following the state’s citizen’s arrest statute.

President Trump previously commented on the incident and the video, calling it “very, very disturbing.”

“So I saw the tape, and it’s very, very disturbing, the tape. I got to see it. It’s very disturbing. I looked at a picture of that young man. He was in a tuxedo, and — in fact, he put it up. And I will say that that looks like a really good, young guy,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” on Friday, Politico reports.

The day before, Trump told reporters at the White House that he had not yet seen the video but was going to get a “full report” that evening.

“I’m getting a full report on it this evening,” Trump said per the report. “My heart goes out to the parents and to the loved ones of the young gentleman. It’s a very sad thing. But I will be given a full report this evening.”