HOUSTON - The shooting death of a black jogger may have happened in Georgia but many in Houston say the reality of what occurred is hitting close to home. A number of Houstonians have taken to social media saying they are now thinking twice about running in their own neighborhood and a Houston City Councilman has joined the fight for justice.
“Dear Attorney General William Barr, I write you as the youngest black male elected official in our nation’s fourth-largest city.”
Houston City Councilman Edward Pollard says he wrote to United States Attorney General William Barr regarding Ahmaud Arbery for one reason. "To let him know there is a community that’s crying inside asking for justice to be had for our community. Ahmaud Arbery is one single case of countless others that we’ve repeatedly tried to implore our government and the system to treat us fairly."
There is new video of Arbery walking out of a home that’s under construction while he was said to be out jogging in the Georgia neighborhood where he lived with his mom.
Minutes later Arbery, a black man, was shot and killed on camera, allegedly by two white men who thought Arbery was a burglar running away after committing a crime.
Ahmaud Arbery (Photo provided by family members)
"We repeatedly see this time after time in our nation’s history and we are in 2020,” says Councilman Pollard.
Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested last week for the shooting which happened in February.
Houston mother of two sons Yolanda Rhodes wrote on social media, “Thank God they were finally arrested. What took so long!!”
Erica Humphrey Johnson writes “This one hit me hard…my own son goes running every night and I never thought to be worried”.
"I have three little boys to raise and in these types of situations it’s like oh goodness I want to live for my children,” says Houston area resident Patrick Rose who's an avid jogger and bicyclist. His wife no longer wants him running or riding at night and not too far from home. “It’s very disheartening. It’s hurtful when we see those stories. It definitely directly affects and relates to our lives,” Rose says.
"We’re a part of the American dream like anyone else. We should be able to do whatever we want like anyone else as long as we’re doing it in a law-abiding way,” adds Councilman Pollard.
Several Democratic senators also recently wrote to AG Barr asking for anti-bias training for police officers encountering black men in masks who are covering to protect from COVID19.
The letter mentions investigations underway after “two African American men in surgical masks recorded themselves being followed by a police officer in Walmart. He reportedly erroneously told them the city’s ordinance prohibited wearing masks in public”. The letter also refers to the Miami doctor who was wearing a mask and handcuffed and detained outside his home.
“We’re all in this together. If we band together and work together we’ll be in a much better place tomorrow than we are today,” says Councilman Pollard.
The Department of Justice released a statement regarding the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, saying in part “The DOJ and FBI are participating in the investigation" and "are assessing the evidence to determine whether federal hate crime charges are appropriate”.