BRUNSWICK, Georgia, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Community leaders in Brunswick, Georgia, are preaching unity ahead of the trial of three white men accused of racially motivated murder in the shotgun death of a Black jogger, anxious it does not stir racial tensions or violent protests in their small coastal city.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday for a trial expected to draw hundreds of protesters outside the court building. The killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020, sparked outrage across the country.
“After the trial is over and the bus-loads of demonstrators and media leave, we still have to live here. We still have to live with each other,” said Allen Booker, who represents Brunswick as the only Black Glynn County commissioner.
Former police officer, Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, are charged with murder and other crimes. All have pleaded not guilty. They face life in prison if convicted.
Community leaders are proud that Brunswick, population 16,000, was once dubbed a “Model City” for the collaboration by local Black and white leaders to desegregate schools, grocery stores, bowling alleys and other facilities even as racial conflict gripped other southern cities in the 1960s and 1970s.
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