Ahmaud Arbery would have turned 26 on Friday, when supporters will gather for #IRunWithMaud
On Friday May 8, supporters will gather virtually to put on their running shoes and take to social media in honor of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed by two white men while out jogging in February. Friday would have been Arbery’s 26th birthday.
Authorities say Arbery was jogging in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia on February 23 when he was chased down by a former police officer, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, who were armed. According to a police report, the senior McMichael said that he saw Arbery running through his neighborhood and thought that he looked like the suspect in a series of nearby break-ins. He said he and his son armed themselves and began chasing him in their truck. After struggling with Travis over the shotgun, Arbery was shot.
Arbery’s family and friends say he was an avid jogger, and they do not believe he committed a crime before being chased down. The case has been building outrage among civil rights activists and others, with the Rev. Al Sharpton calling for an investigation, and state and local N.A.A.C.P. leaders calling for the arrest of the McMichaels.
Celebrities and others have taken to social media to call for justice in the case, which will go to a grand jury in Georgia once the state judicial system reopens for grand jury cases in June.
Jason Vaughn was Arbery’s high school football coach, and he’s now asking supporters to honor Arbery by going for a run of 2.23 miles, representing the date of his death. He asks that runners document their run and post it to social media under the hashtag #IRunWithMaud on Friday.
“With Covid-19 of course, we can’t have a demonstration where we all come together,” Vaughn tells CNN. “Any runner can identify with Maud, a guy who may have had a bad day, but he can go out there and hit the pavement and go jog.”
Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden formally requested Tuesday night that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigate Arbery’s death.
“Our goal in every investigation is to seek the truth, and that’s exactly what we intend on doing in this matter,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said in a video statement Wednesday. “This investigation must be done correctly, and therefore I must ask for a little of your patience. I’m confident that we will do justice in this matter.”
Georgia politician Stacey Abrams told MSNBC that she supports an immediate investigation: “It looks like vigilante behavior that should be charged and criminalized. And it looks like the Arbery family has been dealt a very sore hand of injustice.”
This article was originally published on