Vigilante violence on trial


CAPTION INFO: A demonstrator holds a sign Oct. 18 at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., as jury selection begins in the trial over the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

This week, the trial began for Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan. It hinges in part on Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law, which helped codify White vigilante violence for 150 years. The law was repealed in May 2021, but its legacy reverberates today.

Margaret Coker, editor of nonprofit investigative outlet The Current, is reporting on the trial for The Washington Post. She shares her insights on the decades-old law that has its roots in the Civil War, and how it might be used as a defense in the murder trial. 

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