His name was Ahmaud Arbery: Why you're seeing this man's face all over your social media feeds.

In February 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed in broad daylight while out for a run in an American town.

The two men responsible weren’t charged.

But two months on, the brutal slaying of the young black man is taking over your social media feeds. Why?

Because it’s now being reported he was the victim of a racially motivated crime, not just allegedly committed by the two white men who shot him, but by the authorities who immediately jumped to conclusions. And a new video aims to prove that.

WATCH: Ahmaud’s family is demanding justice. Here’s their lawyer. Post continues after video. 

Video by MSNBC

On Tuesday, graphic video of the incident, filmed by an anonymous source, was posted on Twitter and then deleted, but not before it quickly went viral.

In the video, a black unarmed man in exercise clothes can be seen running along a street in Brunswick, Georgia, at 1pm, before a white pickup truck blocks his path. One white man is standing next to the driver’s door while another is perched in the vehicle’s flatbed.

The view is obstructed for a few minutes, and some shouting can be heard. The video then shows the black man trying to run around the truck before a gunshot rings out. He, and the white man on the road engage in a struggle before another shot is fired. A third gunshot hits him, and he falls to the ground.

25-year-old Ahmaud died at the scene.

Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud was jogging in broad daylight, unarmed when the two men shot him. Image: TMZ.

For two months, neither of his pursuers, a father and son named Gregory and Travis McMichael, were arrested or charged, even though Gregory admitted to police that Travis was responsible for the shooting.

They told police that Ahmaud resembled a suspect that had committed burglary in the area, with a police report obtained by the New York Times quoting that Gregory "was in his front yard when he saw Arbery hauling ass down the street, and called to Travis, 'The guy is running down the street, let’s go'."

The McMichaels got in their pickup truck, armed with a .357 magnum and a shotgun, and began chasing Arbery through the neighbourhood.

They told police they called out to him and said "stop stop we want to talk to you," and when Travis exited the vehicle to approach, Ahmaud "attacked" him.

During a struggle over the gun, the report states, Travis fired two shots.

Police ultimately decided not to press charges because "the men who shot Arbery were compliant with Georgia’s open carry law, as well as laws regarding both citizen’s arrests and stand-your-ground," reports The Cut.

But as the attorney representing Ahmaud's family points out in a statement:

"The video clearly shows Mr Arbery jogging down the road in the middle of the day. Two armed assailants, known to be Gregory and Travis McMichael, are parked ahead of Mr Arbery. Mr Arbery makes multiple attempts to avoid the armed strangers before the first shot is heard. Mr Arbery then appears to collide with the attacking gunman, now known to be Travis McMichael. Mr Arbery then struggles for the gun and in defence of his life. At this point Travis McMichael shoots Mr Arbery two additional times with a shotgun at point-blank range.

"Mr Arbery had not committed any crime and there was no reason for these men to believe they had the right to stop him with weapons or to use deadly force in furtherance of their unlawful attempted stop. This is murder."

A cross with flowers sits near the intersection where Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed. Image: Sean Rayford/Getty.

"He was out for his daily jog and he was hunted down like an animal and killed," his mother added, while being interviewed by CBS.

Since the footage was revealed and the social media backlash has grown, Gregory and Travis McMichael have today been arrested and charged with murder, and a grand jury has been announced to look into the killing. But they won't start investigating until June 13, as courts in the state remain closed due to coronavirus.

In the meantime, supporters of Ahmaud and his family are rallying for justice. They ran through the streets in solidarity this week using the hashtag #RunWithMaud (Ahmaud's nickname), and they're calling for people to sign a petition to express concern.

So far, 577,000 people have.

Even more people are throwing their support behind the former star linebacker and avid jogger on social media.

Olympian Aisha Praught Leer wrote about how his killing underscores the racial disparities in running.


Ellen DeGeneres sent her love to the family, asking her followers to join her in calling for justice.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay wrote: "Let’s voice outrage beyond posting his picture on social media."

Feature image: USA Today.