ATLANTA — The family of Ahmaud Arbery say they are overjoyed that the city of Atlanta will honor their loved one who was fatally shot in February while out for a jog in Brunswick, Ga.
Atlanta city councilman Antonio Brown told Channel 2’s Tom Jones that, from now on, May 8 will be Ahmaud Arbery Day in Atlanta. Arbery would have turned 26 on May 8.
Brown went to the Glynn County city in south Georgia on Wednesday where he presented the proclamation celebrating Arbery’s life to his family.
“We love it. It's great. It's a great feeling, man,” Arbery’s uncle, Gary Arbery said. "It's great 'cause I know he was a great kid. A great young man. He just wanted to run.”
Jones said the family told him that Ahmaud was a running enthusiast.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael now face murder charges after police say they shot Arbery, an African American, while he was jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in February.
According to Brunswick law enforcement, the McMichaels, who are white, said they suspected Arbery might be responsible for a series of burglaries in the neighborhood.
The McMichaels were not charged until May 7 after a video of the incident came to light and the case was taken out of the hands of local law enforcement by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Brown spearheaded the effort to set aside May 8 in Atlanta to honor Arbery.
The family “were crying when they received the proclamation. It was just an incredible experience,” Brown told Jones.
He said some people have questioned if the city should have issued the proclamation.
“I thought it was pretty much a no-brainer," Brown said. "I thought it was one of those situations where this makes sense."
The councilman said it's important for the council to show that it stands united with Brunswick and Arbery's family.
“It let us know that we got people out here fighting for us,” Gary Arbery said.
Brown urged people to get behind the effort to get hate crime legislation passed in the state.
Atlantans are planning other events to honor Arbery. A caravan for justice in being planned for May 16.
The caravan will leave from Victory Outreach Church in southwest Atlanta that morning. From there, it will drive to the Glynn County courthouse in Brunswick for a rally at 2 p.m.
Leaders told Channel 2’s Matt Johnson that their message is “we are not satisfied,” because they want resignations of two of the district attorneys who took on the case.
Their top demand is the resignation of current Glynn County DA Jackie Johnson.
There are allegations that she helped cover for the father and son because Greg McMichaels worked in her office previously as an investigator.
Activists, attorneys and supporters of Arbery say they welcome the Georgia Attorney General's recent decision to appoint a new prosecutor to the case but they say more action should be taken.
They also want Waycross Judicial Circuit DA George Barnhill to resign because of his refusal to bring charges against the McMichaels.
“The role of a prosecutor is not to protect law enforcement. The role of a prosecutor is to represent the people of Georgia and to make sure there are checks and balances on those who will victimize other citizens in the state of Georgia,” attorney Miguel Dominguez said.
Barnhill said that he has no public comment during the ongoing criminal case. Johnson is defending her handling of the case.
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