‘This was hate’: Bernice King says racism was at the heart of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing

ATLANTA — Civil rights leaders are speaking out about the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in South Georgia.

Video shows Ahmaud Arbery allegedly being gunned down by a white father and son while he was out for a jog more than two months ago. The video of the shooting was leaked this week, sparking outrage across the globe.

Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., spoke with Channel 2 anchor Jovita Moore on Friday about her reaction to the case.

“This was hate. This was racism,” King said.

She told Moore that she was baffled when she saw the video of Arbery’s death.

“I could not understand -- when I saw the video -- I could not understand why these men were not in jail,” King said.

RELATED STORIES:

She told Moore that she was relieved when arrests were finally made on Thursday.

“I think state leaders have to step in when local municipal leaders don’t do their part,” King said.

“What do you think this says about the justice system in the state of Georgia?” Moore asked King.

“I don't think there’s a problem with the scales of justice. I think there are problems with the scales of people’s eyes and their thinking,” King said.

King said the lack of initial action to investigate Arbery’s death is indicative of a lingering national problem.

“We have to work on our entire criminal justice system that is not working for black people,” King said. “We have to send a strong consistent message, not just in the emergency, not just in the moment. We have to consistently say, ‘This is not tolerated in this country,’” King said.

“Here we are in 2020, 57 years after your father said he had a dream about his children living in a nation where they are not judged by the color of their skin and then you have a 25-year-old black man gunned down for seemingly no reason while he’s out for a jog,” Moore said.

“Not seemingly for no reason. He was hunted like he was prey, like he was an animal and he is a human being to be valued, to be respected, to be honored and treated as such. He did absolutely nothing wrong,” King replied.

She told Moore that it’s time for Georgia to have a hate crime law and the push for it has to come from all sides.

King mentioned a tweet by pastor Andy Stanley, who wrote about being an advocate.

“Black lives do matter. Black lives should be treated with dignity. They should be treated with respect and it has to come from our white brothers and sisters who have been too silent,” King said.