Travis McMichael was one of three men accused in the murder of Ahmaud, a 25-year old Black man. He took to the stand as a high-stakes wager in an attempt to justify the shooting which prompted national protests and outrage last year.

He was the first defense witness to testify in a case in which his father Gregory McMichael, 65, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 53, also face murder charges; none of them are under any obligation to give testimony. Both men claim that Arbery was a criminal in self-defense. Evidence presented in court earlier supported this assertion. undercutSome of these claims are not true.

Arbery’s killing ignited a national conversation about racial profiling, and the trial of the men who pursued and killed him has been often fraught. It began with the controversial selection of a jury of 11 white people and only one Black person, and last week, one of the defense lawyers objected to the presence of “Black pastors” in the courtroom.

Travis McMichael’s risky testimony could be aimed at swaying the nearly all-white jurors with tales of a neighborhood endangered by crime.

He said that the gun he was carrying was his attempt at de-escalation of Arbery’s confrontation, initiated by his father.

“I want to give my side of the story. I want to explain what happened and to be able to say what happened from the way I see it,” he said.

Travis McMichael is a witness during the trial in Brunswick, Georgia, Wednesday, November 17, 2021. McMichael was charged together with his father Greg McMichael as well as their neighbor William “Roddie Bryan in the February 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery (25 years).
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool

He attempted to draw a picture of the neighborhood where people lived in constant fear of being robbed. He stated that people talk about the break-ins near their homes, and that his mother pointed out certain things in the neighbourhood. He stated that it was troubling for him to hear of more patrol cars appearing in the neighborhood. He said his car was burglarized multiple times and that he reported a stolen Smith & Wesson pistol from his truck.

Travis McMichael’s lawyer, Jason Sheffield, stipulated off the bat that his client had previously pulled his gun on two other people long before killing Arbery.

The attorney stated that his client had done so after being approached at an ATM by someone who ran off. According to the attorney, the defendant had been sitting in his truck when a man tried to carjack him. Sheffield claims that the defendant pulled out his gun to lead the individual to flee.

“This has now informed him of how using his gun can de-escalate situations,” Sheffield said.

The defendant also described an incident not long before Arbery’s killing in which he went to get gas and saw a man “creeping through the shadows” outside a residential construction site just down the street from his parents’ home. In a 911 call that was played back to the court on Wednesday, he could be heard telling the operator that “when I turned around, he took off running into the house.”

Just a week before Travis McMichael’s testimony, construction site owner Larry EnglishHad stated in depositionHe never gave Travis McMichael permission to secure his property. English never reported stolen items, even though McMichaels said there was theft at the location.

Paul Camarillo was the Prosecutor and asked English to explain what happened at his site during the time period that had caused such concern among the McMichaels.

Multiple people were seen entering the site and exiting it, including young children on bicycles and white men and women. Also, footage from the day Arbery died was captured inside the site.

“At this point, to your knowledge, had anything ever been taken or disturbed?” Camarillo asked English.

“Nope,” English replied.

Arbery’s killing sparked national outrage and protests for months across the country. Bryan and the McMichaels are also charged with felony murder. Federal hate crime allegations also apply to the McMichaels.


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