Georgia Judge Rules Out Referendum Abolishing Police Department Following Ahmaud Arbery Killing Outcry

A Georgia Superior Court has decided that the police force in the state cannot be abolished over its handling of the murder of Black jogger #AhmaudArbery.

On February 23, 2020, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was on a jog when two white men pursued and fatally shot him near Brunswick in Glynn County George. The two white men were former Glynn County police officer, #GregoryMcMichael and his son #TravisMcMichael. Both men have been charged with murder and aggravated assault. Police say that Gregory saw Arbery jogging through his neighborhood and believed he looked like a burglary suspect. Gregory called his son over, and the two drove after Arbery; footage of the entire incident was captured on cell phone footage.

On Friday, Liberty County Judge Charles Rose ruled that the authority to abolish a police department lies with the local officials and that it is not subject to a public referendum, Reuters reports. The effort to have the police department abolished came after Arbery’s murder. While the killing happened in February, the men were only charged after state authorities became involved two months later following an outcry. The referendum was approved by the State Senator William Ligon in June, who started the ballot initiative. Gov. Brian Kemp signed it into law in August, which prompted the county’s commission’s lawsuit, Reuters reports.

Michael Browning, the chair of the Glynn County Board of Commissioners, said the judge’s decision to have the police department remain was the right one. “This was unconstitutional from the get-go,” said Browning.

Ahmaud Arbery

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