BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WTOC) - A day after a preliminary hearing for the three men charged with Ahmaud Arbery’s February 23 shooting death, demonstrators gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse once again.
People from different walks of life came to show their support, and felt called for different reasons. For K.K. Lee, it was about setting an example.
“I felt that it was my responsibility to come out here with my crown and sash on and be on the first row doing what I need to do," said Lee, who is Miss Glynn County 2019-20.
Another attendee came from Jacksonville, Fla.
“You know, right now everybody is fired up. That’s the trend, but we know what happens with trends, they have a peak, so what we want to do is keep the message in front of the right people at the right time, which is every day, all day.”
The crowd continued to call for resignation of District Attorney Jackie Johnson who recused herself from the case early on. At one point Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey attempted to speak to the crowd. As they shouted, he eventually left the gathering to a chorus of booing.
The organizer of Friday’s demonstration says he represents a group called “Liberty Road", and they’ve been in Minneapolis recently as the city protests over the death of George Floyd, for which a police officer is charged.
“We want everyone to be accountable and justice to be served for this family," said “Big Texas” the organizer. "This young brother did not deserve to be murdered in the street, in the manner that he was murdered, so the mission is clear: we want justice, or else.”
Arbery’s aunt was in attendance, and addressed the crowd. She made it clear that the family does not want any sort of “or else” action, and they’re proud that Brunswick has remained peaceful throughout the month of rallies.
“My message to them was to not let any negativity get into their head, because we have created so much positivity in our community," Thea Brooks, Arbery’s aunt, said. “We have actually been an inspiration to the nation, because we are the only ones who have had something so tragic to happen here in our city, and we haven’t looted, we haven’t rioted, we haven’t burnt things up. We’ve done it the right way."
When asked if the family wants protests to remain peaceful, she said, "Absolutely, because that’s who Ahmaud was as a person. He was peaceful, he was laid-back, he had a humble spirit, and that’s what we want to continue.”
Brooks, alongside Arbery’s cousin Kevin, said seeing people come together and remember Ahmaud is healing for them.
Rallies across the region are set to continue throughout the weekend.