Jay-Z leads call from musicians for swift action in Ahmaud Arbery case

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The social justice arm of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment company has called for state officials to take quick action in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who authorities say was killed by two white men as he ran through a neighbourhood in Georgia.

Musicians Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Alicia Keys, Mario “Yo Gotti” Mims, Robert “Meek Mill” Williams and two lawyers signed Team Roc’s open letter, which was published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and directed at state officials.

The letter said District Attorney Tom Durden should be recused from the case due to a conflict of interest because Gregory McMichael, one of the two men charged with murder, was a former police officer.

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The letter urges state Attorney General Christopher Carr to instead appoint a special prosecutor to help achieve a fair trial. It also says a neighbour should be charged as an armed accomplice.

“We are all Ahmaud Arbery,” rapper Yo Gotti said in a statement. “Everyday activities should not end in death sentences. We must hold people responsible for their actions. Ahmaud Arbery was unarmed and innocent and his killers must be brought to justice.”

Georgia Chase Deadly Shooting Lee Merritt
Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, in front of a mural of the victim by artist Theo Ponchaveli in Dallas (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Arbery was shot dead in Brunswick on February 23 but no charges were brought for more than two months.

National outrage over the case swelled last week after a video surfaced which appeared to show the shooting.

Shortly after the film was leaked, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

The father and son said they thought Arbery matched the appearance of a burglary suspect who they said had been recorded on a surveillance camera some time before.

Georgia Chase Deadly Shooting
Gregory McMichael, left, and his son, Travis McMichael, have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery (Glynn County Detention Centre/AP)

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her 25-year-old son, a former high school football player, was just jogging in the neighbourhood before he was killed.

“If anybody saw that horrifying video of his killing, it is heartbreaking, unbelievably unacceptable and inhumane,” singer Alicia Keys said in a statement to the Associated Press.

“No human being should be murdered and not receive justice. I have black sons and they should be able to go on a jog or anywhere they want without the risk of being killed.”

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