Defense ends closing arguments in trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery

Demonstrators, who described themselves as members of the New Black Panther Party and the Lion of Judah Armed Forces, told CNN that they are there exercising their Second Amendment rights. 
Demonstrators, who described themselves as members of the New Black Panther Party and the Lion of Judah Armed Forces, told CNN that they are there exercising their Second Amendment rights.  (CNN)

While attorneys presented their closing arguments inside the courtroom, several groups who said they were there to support Ahmaud Arbery’s family gathered just outside the courthouse doors. 

Demonstrators, who described themselves as members of the New Black Panther Party and the Lion of Judah Armed Forces, told CNN that they are there exercising their Second Amendment rights. 

Some members of the crowd could be seen wearing body armor and carrying long guns. 

After the lunch break, defense attorney Kevin Gough motioned for a mistrial because of the situation outside the courthouse. The judge denied the motion. 

A spokesperson for the Glynn County Unified Command, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the event, estimated the number of protesters gathered outside the courthouse to be between 70 and 80 people, a much smaller crowd than the nearly 500 people who gathered for a prayer vigil organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton last week. 

“Nothing to suggest at this point that they will see anything other than peaceful protests,” the spokesperson said, adding, “We have plans in place if resources are needed.” 

As they departed the courthouse for lunch, members of the defense teams for all three defendants could be seen talking to some of the protesters with guns.  

A rally is expected later this afternoon around the perimeter of the courthouse, according to a spokesperson for the Lion of Judah Armed Forces who told CNN that they are in Brunswick “out of love” and “standing in solidarity” with the Arbery family. 

An art installation in the shape of a casket with the names of Black people who have been killed in incidents involving police violence was also placed outside the courthouse. Malik Barlow, a marketing consultant speaking for artist Darrell Kelley, said the casket is a “metaphor,” and a way for the artist to exercise his First Amendment rights. 

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