Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging through a mostly white neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020, when he was chased by three white men in two trucks, and shot and killed about two miles (3.2 km) from his mother’s house near Brunswick, Georgia.
His killing sparked national outrage when cellphone video of the shooting emerged months later and the public learned that local authorities had declined to arrest his pursuers.
The men who chased Ahmaud Arbery told police they thought he committed a crime and were trying to make a citizen’s arrest. The men were all convicted in state court last year for murder and now face a federal hate-crimes trial.
WHO WAS AHMAUD ARBERY?
Ahmaud Marquez Arbery was a lifelong resident of the coastal, south Georgia city of Brunswick. He was known as “Maud” or “Quez” to his friends, and was the son of Marcus Arbery Sr. and Wanda Cooper-Jones. He had a big, easy smile and ran every day unless there was a drenching rain, his family said.
Arbery worked long hours at a truck washing company and at his father’s landscaping business. He’d frequently be seen by neighbors lifting weights in his mother’s driveway or playing basketball. He often sang freestyle rap.
Ahmaud Arbery was a former linebacker for his high school football team, the Brunswick Pirates. Despite lacking the typical heft of a linebacker, his speed and agility on the field made him a local star. He once dreamed of playing for the National Football League, but at 5-foot-10 (1.8 meters) he wasn’t big enough, his family said.
His coach at Brunswick High School, where Arbery graduated in 2012, retired his football jersey, No. 21, in honor of the star player at a ceremony in 2020.
Arbery had a few brushes with the law, incidents that his family says he was putting behind him.
In 2013, a year after graduating from high school, he went back on campus to attend a basketball game and was found with a pistol in his waistband. He was given five years of probation.
In 2017, he was arrested for attempted shoplifting of a television from a local Walmart. A judge extended the term of his original probation, which he was still serving when he died, court records show.
Defense attorneys wanted to tell the jury about those incidents, but the judge said no, ruling that the defendants could not have known anything about Arbery’s legal troubles or probation status.
Apart from his football dreams, Ahmaud Arbery wanted to become an electrician, following in the footsteps of three of his uncles, his family said.
Right after high school, he attended South Georgia Technical College for about a year and half but dropped out when money got tight. His aunt, Theawanza Brooks, said that Arbery had been saving up to continue his studies.