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Ahmaud Arbery Case: Defendants Can’t Keep Confederate License Plate Secret From Jury, Judge Rules

Ahmaud Arbery Case: Defendants Can’t Keep Confederate License Plate Secret From Jury, Judge Rules

One of the defendants charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery has failed in an effort to suppress a piece of evidence in his case. It’s a license plate that his defense says jury members might interpret as a display of racism, but prosecutors say that sporting the emblem was a conscious choice on his part, and the judge seems to agree.

BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 27: Travis McMichael attends jury selection in his trial for the killing Ahmaud Arbery at the Glynn County Superior Court, on October 27, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia. Travis and Greg McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan are charged with the February 2020 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. (Photo by Octavio Jones-Pool/Getty Images)

Travis McMichael is accused of shooting Ahmaud Arbery to death after he and his father, George McMichael, pursued the young man in their pickup truck, with friend and neighbor William Bryan following to record cell phone video. However, it’s the younger McMichael’s Confederate flag license plate that’s now a subject of contention in the case.

According to RawStory, the defense attempted to have a photo of the plate suppressed, and prevent the jury from seeing it or knowing it existed. The judge has ruled against them.

The availability of Georgia license plates with Confederate flag emblems has been a matter of controversy since well before the defendants ever encountered Arbery that day. In 2015, after the flag and its connection to Dylann Roof, who entered a church in South Carolina to murder the Black worshippers within, became an increased topic in public discourse, then-governor Nathan Deal said he urged a redesign of the plate that bore the image, as USA Today reported at the time.

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However, last year — a few months after Arbery was killed — a local CBS affiliate was reporting that the plate was still available, with purchases benefitting the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization, and that some Georgians found it disturbing and inappropriate.

Now a jury of Georgians will have the opportunity to determine whether the Confederate plate is a display of racism that affects the direction of Travis McMichael’s defense.

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