Attorney in Ahmaud Arbery case wants George Floyd mask banned in court
Famed attorney S. Lee Merritt has appeared in court on numerous occasions wearing a face mask that reads 'George Floyd.'
The lawyer for Ahmaud Arbery’s family wore a face covering with George Floyd’s name on it during a pretrial hearing in the ongoing murder case, prompting a defense lawyer to call for the mask to be banned in court.
Famed attorney S. Lee Merritt has appeared in court on numerous occasions wearing a face mask that reads “George Floyd,” NBC News reports.
A lawyer for William “Roddie” Bryan, one of the defendants in the Arbery murder case, said Merritt should not be allowed to make political statements in court via his choice of face wear.
“If we are permitted to wear masks making political statements, then Mr. Evans and I and his office should be free to wear ‘MAGA’ masks if we wanted to in the courtroom,” said defense attorney Kevin Gough. “I imagine the court wouldn’t appreciate that. And I think the same rules should apply and any political statements whether on masks, on lapels, bumper stickers, T-shirts,” he added.
Continuing, “Whatever people (wear), this is not the place for political statements.”
Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley overruled the defense request, claiming he had not noticed Merritt’s mask.
“I”m not one for games,” Walmsley said. “If anything in the court becomes disruptive, it’s the court’s position that that disruption will be dealt with. This is not a place to make a statement.”
The three men accused of murdering Arbery entered not guilty pleas in a Georgia court on Friday (July 17), theGrio previously reported.
Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan were all indicted by a grand jury for Arbery’s murder on June 24, more than four months after the Feb. 23 shooting in Brunswick, GA.
All three are each facing one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23 while running through the majority-white neighborhood of Satilla Shores in Georgia. He had previously been walking through a house that is in the process of being built. His murder has been a flashpoint in the current reckoning with racial justice that is taking place in America.
During the hearing this week, Gough requested bail for Bryan, who is facing a long prison sentence if he is convicted. But Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, pleaded with the judge to keep him locked up,
“He does not believe there’s anything wrong with what he did. He wants this court or allow him to go home,” she told the court. “I am asking this court to say, ‘No.’ He cannot go home. He did not allow my son to go home.”
The judge agreed and denied Bryan bail.
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