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11 May, 2020 19:14

Jay-Z screams for justice in US jogger case, as video shows the accused are guilty. Would he do this if the victim was white?

Jay-Z screams for justice in US jogger case, as video shows the accused are guilty. Would he do this if the victim was white?

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys have made some pressing demands only 24 hours after two men were arrested for the gunning down of an African-American while out running. But what’s the real motive behind the rapper’s open letter?

It’s hard not to admire somebody that sticks up for the little guy and demands that justice be served. But I can’t see any actual merit in rapper Jay-Z’s open letter demanding that “justice is eventually served” in the case of black murder victim Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

I would certainly see his logic in taking out the full-page newspaper advert – poignantly published on Mother’s Day in America and two days after what would’ve been Ahmaud’s 26th birthday – if its sole aim was to put local authorities under pressure to make arrests. But the two gun wielding killers, a father and son named Gregory and Travis McMichael, were rightfully charged with murder and aggravated assault last Saturday – a day before the open letter was published.

It’s also hard to argue that Jay-Z’s social justice group Team Roc wanted to shine a light on the crime itself either, because, as the open letter – signed by six prominent African-Americans from both the entertainment world and legal profession – points out, “the world is now familiar with the story” of this atrocious killing in February.

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No, its main aim was to highlight racism and heap political pressure on the three men it was addressed to – the Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Attorney General Christopher Carr and District Attorney Tom Durden.

It urged the district attorney to “recuse himself” – nice legal jargon for “resign” – from the case without there being any real substance for the request. They absurdly claim that Durden, being a former police officer himself, has a “clear conflict of interest” when it comes to him prosecuting another ex-cop. But I don’t buy it.

It would be different if the two men were buddies, but – forget that Durden took an oath to uphold the law – there’s literally a smoking gun here with the murder video footage. That alone will make it a case that even OJ Simpson’s legal dream team wouldn’t win. With all that in mind, it’s hard to see how the district attorney would want to drop the ball “with the entire world watching,” as the letter points out.

As an ex-drug dealer himself, I wonder if Jay-Z is making a big song and dance about Durden to just stick a “middle finger up at the law,” as he rapped on his song ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulders’? He’s clearly no fan of the police, having had his own run-ins with them in the past.

He’s also not a fan of some former US presidents either. Jay-Z’s well known for the graphic violence and misogyny in his explicit lyrics – but could some of his own lyrics be considered racist too? The MRC – dubbed America’s Media Watchdog – observed his song ‘My President is Black’ had so-called “racial shots” at former US President George W. Bush. In it, he rapped “no more white lies” – which is something I’d be rightly crucified for if I ever said the same about a black man being dishonest. We clearly don’t live in a world where what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

The open letter – as is his wont – rages against the machine. It’s as if they want to dispense with the entire trial and just lynch the men. After all, the letter clearly states they want “to ensure a fair trial is conducted” but then in the next breath they add, “as that can only lead to the appropriate felony convictions.”

But the two cold-blooded killers deserve their day in court – if only to shame them, if nothing else. It certainly should be an open and shut case – judging by the video footage alone.

Without that evidence, I would’ve understood the letter better, because nobody would ever have been surprised to hear about a white man getting off scott-free with the murder of a black man in the Deep South – even though it’s against the law there for the public to use force on somebody suspected of committing a crime. Sadly, justice is not always (color) blind in the USA.

But – I repeat – this case is different. There’s sufficient evidence to secure a conviction – otherwise there will be riots across America not seen since the Rodney King storm in 1992. Granted, it won’t stop the accused’s legal team fighting tooth and nail to get them off, or get the charges reduced to manslaughter. But even the latter might be mission impossible now that the whole world has Georgia on its mind.

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It was always going to be hard to find an impartial jury for this case, but that open letter has only added fuel to the fire. As I say, I certainly applaud Jay-Z for demanding justice, but would he have been so eager if it had been a white man murdered?

Judging by his lyrics – probably not if the whitey happened to be George W. Bush.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.