The judge’s verdict in the prosecution of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery will be influenced in part by their attorneys’ ability to persuade the jury that the killing was undertaken in self-defense. In Georgia, this is a difficult question to answer. First, the state permits the use of lethal force if a person has reasonable grounds to suspect that another person is likely to kill or seriously hurt him or her. Second, Georgia is a Stand Your Ground state, which implies that someone responding to a potential threat is not required to withdraw first before using lethal force. In such situations, however, the state does not enable attackers to plead self-defense. The suspects in the Arbery death followed Arbery, who was defenseless because they thought him of being involved in a string of burglaries, although Travis McMichael, the man who shot Arbery, raised his gun first.
The Crossroads of Special Operations