The filmed killing of unarmed Black Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery rocked the nation. Prosecutors eventually charged three white men – Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan – with felony murder.
There were already concerns about the fairness of the case because it took a viral video and international news coverage before the three suspects were finally arrested 74 days after Arbery was shot dead on February 23, 2020. The fact that the defendants are facing a jury of 11 Caucasians and 1 African-American sparked controversy as well.
A TMZ cameraman asked Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas about the jury’s racial makeup in the closely-watched trial taking place in Glynn County, Georgia – a locale with a 25% Black population. The TLC member suggested the jurors’ race hopefully will not play a factor in the final verdict.
“We have to believe that there are kind, good-hearted people out there no matter what color they are, so I would say let’s look at it like that,” stated Chili. “Just because it’s not the same skin color doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be fair, because to me it’s pretty obvious what happened.”
The Atlanta-based singer added, “I’m a Christian, and honestly I have to hope and believe that maybe some of those guys are too. We just have to hope that, again, they’re gonna be truthful about this… And if it’s not right, it’s gonna be an outrage for sure and one that is understandable. Let’s just all hope and pray.”
Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael are accused of harassing and shooting Ahmaud Arbery while the 25-year-old former high school football player was jogging in Brunswick. William Bryan, the man who allegedly assisted the McMichaels in their pursuit of Arbery, recorded the incident from his vehicle.
Lawyers for Ahmaud Arbery’s family have referred to his death as a “modern-day lynching.” Travis McMichael allegedly called Arbery a “f###### n#####” after shooting him three times. The truck used by the McMicheals reportedly had a vanity license plate that included a Confederate emblem, which is often viewed as a symbol of white supremacy.