Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressed unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery being chased and shot dead allegedly by two white men, Gregory and Travis McMichael in Georgia on February 23.
Host Jake Tapper said, “The shooting happened back on February 23. Authorities had possession of a now-viral video of the shooting from the beginning. But the murder charges were not filed until this past week after the video emerged online and shocked and outraged millions of Americans. Do you think that the two men were only charged because the video became public?”
Lance Bottoms said, “I think that’s absolutely the reason that they were charged. I think had we not seen that video, I don’t believe that they would be charged. And it’s heartbreaking that it’s 2020. This was a lynching of an African-American man. And I think that, you know, my heart goes out to his family. But I think, again, it’s a part of this bigger issue that we are having in this country with the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House in so many ways, I think that many who are prone to being racist are given permission to do it in an overt way that we otherwise would not see in 2020.”
She added, “You have to remember, Jake, you know, in cities across this country, even if local leadership fails, there was always the backstop of our Justice Department to step in and make sure people are appropriately prosecuted. But we don’t have that leadership at the top right now. It’s disheartening. And I can tell you, I have four kids, three of whom are African-American boys. They are afraid. They are angry, and they are afraid. I think it speaks to the need to have leadership at the top that cares for all of our communities and not just in words but in deeds as well.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN