WASHINGTON – Families who met with President Trump will have the deaths of their loved ones federally and independently investigated, according to a lawyer for the families.
The President’s guests included the families of several high-profile victims killed by police in recent weeks. Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper Jones was also there.
Three men are charged with the murder of her son, Ahmaud after prosecutors said the trio "chased, hunted down and ultimately executed” the 25-year-old. Charges weren’t filed until more than 2 months after the killing when a video showing the shooting death went viral.
The meeting was held before the President signed an executive order on police reform. Families were invited to also join the President for the signing of the bill in the Rose Garden of the White House but declined.
Directly after the meeting, Cooper Jones praised the President’s compassion several times.
“He was very receiving. He listened and he addressed each and every family, accordingly,” she said.
However, some civil justice organizations were not pleased to see the interaction. The Georgia NAACP showed their dislike on Twitter, saying the meeting could have dangerous consequences for black people.
To see @meritlaw, an out-of-state lawyer who does not have deep relationships with our civil rights community, have Ahmaud's family appear with @realdonaldtrump, who does not have honest intentions about saving Black lives, could result in dangerous consequences for Black people.— Georgia NAACP (@Georgia_NAACP) June 16, 2020
We secured a commitment to independent federal investigations of each of the families that accompanied me to the White House.— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) June 16, 2020
This commitment is not currency. This commitment does not help save lives in the future but potentially will help these families get justice.
Hours later, Cooper Jones reiterated the meeting at the White House went well but added the executive order discussed would not have saved Ahmaud’s life.
“I didn’t really have a whole lot of high expectations about the meeting. I wanted to learn more about his executive order. He explained it. After explaining it, I don’t think that that order would actually have an influence on my son’s case,” she said.
During the Rose Garden speech, President Trump did not call out systematic racism but suggested the problems comes from a small number of police officers.
“They’re very tiny. I use the word tiny,” he said. “It’s a very small percentage. But nobody wants to get rid of them more than the really good and great police officers.”
Trump said the executive order is also meant to encourage police departments to adopt the “highest and the strongest” professional standards.
For Wanda Cooper Jones, the fight to keep her son’s memory alive continues.
“I just want Ahmaud to be remembered with love because Ahmaud loved. I would like change to be implemented by the passing of Ahmaud because Ahmaud didn’t have to leave the way that he left.”
A reporter asked Cooper Jones before the end of an interview, “What are you going to do now?” She responded,
“I’m going to continue to fight,” she said.