FORT MYERS, Fla. — People in Fort Myers joined the nationwide run with Ahmaud Arbery to recognize what would’ve been his 26th birthday. They told Fox 4 the arrest of his accused murderers is a step in the right direction, but they won’t feel any real justice until suspects Greg and Travis McMichael are convicted of murder.
Ashlyne Martin, personal trainer, organized a group in Fort Myers to join the national 2.23 mile run for Arbery, marking the day he was murdered.
She wore a white shirt as he did while he jogged right before his murder. Martin’s shirt had the words “#IRunWithMaud” on the back.
Today’s run gave her chill.
“It was chilling because it’s just like I felt that he felt free. You know what I mean, that’s what running does!” she said.
Arbery’s run and life were cut short on February 23rd, when Greg McMichael and his son Travis allegedly thought he was a burglary suspect, chased him in their pickup truck, and shot him to death.
Martin also ran in honor of the black men in her life.
“I do have a black father, I have black uncles, I have black male friends that are so dear to me, and this literally could’ve happened to them,” she said.
Toya Felston, co-founder of Fit Sistaz Fort Myers ran for Ahmad, thinking of her brothers.
“It just was disbelief that that had happened over two months ago,” she said.
It wasn’t until Thursday night that Glynn County Police arrested and charged the McMichaels with murder and aggravated assault, more than two months after the murder.
Retired law enforcement veteran Dr. David Thomas said the suspects argument of citizens arrest is legal in Georgia, but the way they did it was not.
“Georgia’s statute requires in order to make a citizen’s arrest, that you must actually see a crime take place, a felony take place,” said Thomas.
But, according to police reports, McMichael had only seen Arbery running.
Although there’s no citizen’s arrest statute in Florida, Thomas said this case sounds eerily similar to the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, which he said should not have been able to stand as self defense.
“The argument in both of those cases is that the armed suspects created that encounter,” he said.
Thomas saiid even though suspects in both cases approached the victims, the self defense claim held up in court for the man who killed Martin. People running with Maud said they hope that won’t be the case this time around.