Supporters of Ahmaud Arbery’s family gather outside courthouse during opening statements

Triana Arnold James is president of Georgia Now and passionate about being at the Glynn County Courthouse during the trial of the three men accused of chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery.

“Raining, snow, sleet, Georgia weather. Everybody should be here on these courthouse steps and bearing witness,” said James.

On a rainy, chilly Friday in Brunswick, the Transformation Justice Coalition gathered to show their support to Arbery’s family on a significant day in the trial — opening statements. Attorney Lee Merritt was also there.

“We are declaring victory in advance,” said Merritt.

Kevin Gough, William “Roddie” Bryan’s attorney, mentioned the group in court, asking to have the supporters pushed back.

“This activity is just too close so close it’s violative of the defendant’s rights,” said Gough.

The judge denied it, and they continued with opening statements. The state prosecutor describing the chase said, “Mr. Arbery is under attack.” The defense said, “Travis McMichael was acting in self-defense.”

Barbara Arnwine, Transformative Justice Coalition president, said she noticed a change in the atmosphere of the courtroom.

“We are hopeful that as this evidence continues to come out that the right decision will be made,” said Arnwine.

In ponchos and under tents, the president of Georgia Now, a women’s organization, said she thinks statements will get even more uncomfortable.

“I’m expecting them to paint the victim, Ahmaud Arbery, not as a victim but as the agitator,” said James. “I already know that they are going to do that. But as a mom, it’s going to hurt me to even seeing the videos and hearing the words they are saying.”

It’s only day one since jury selection, but these groups plan to be here until there’s a verdict.

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