BRUNSWICK, Ga. — It's a question many 11Alive viewers have been asking about the Ahmaud Arbery case as attention surrounding it builds nationally, even in the midst of the continuing coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic: What makes this one so different?
One of the major factors here is the timeline.
Arbery was killed on Feb. 23 after he was followed and confronted by Gregory and Travis McMichael, who told police they thought he was a burglary suspect. But, no charges were filed immediately after the shooting and no one was ever arrested.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was finally asked on May 5 to investigate the shooting after a special prosecutor appointed to the case formally requested the agency to. It officially launched it's investigation the next day.
Thirty-six hours after getting the case, agents arrested the McMichaels and charged them with murder and aggravated assault. This was 75 days after he was shot.
Arbery's shooting happened just three days before the anniversary of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida in 2012, which similarly captured national headlines.
Photos: Ahmaud Arbery
11Alive legal analyst Latonia Hines explained the similarities between these cases.
"People are so upset about this because it's much like Trayvon Martin. It becomes this issue of: is it because he's running?" she explained.
"Is it because he's running away from something, or is it actually because someone is following behind him?" she said. "So, is it truly self-defense? Or is it that he's defending himself?"
Hines added that there's also the question of when a citizen has the legal right to pursue someone they suspect of performing a criminal act.