Judge: Ahmaud Arbery's past troubles irrelevant to trial

Defense attorneys for the men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery won’t be allowed to present evidence of the slain Black man’s past legal problems when their clients stand trial for murder, a Georgia judge ruled. Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are awaiting trial this fall for chasing and killing 25-year-old Arbery last year as he ran in their neighborhood outside coastal Brunswick. Jury selection is scheduled to start Oct. 18. Attorneys for the McMichaels wanted the jury to hear about Arbery’s past run-ins with law enforcement, including two arrests, to cast doubt on prosecutors' contention that he was merely an innocent jogger. Defense attorneys say the white men reasonably suspected Arbery had committed a crime when they began the pursuit that ended in his death. Prosecutors argued that defense lawyers were seeking to put Arbery on trial by making his criminal record and other prior problems part of the case. None of the three defendants knew Arbery, or anything about his past, prior to the shooting. Prosecutors said his past was irrelevant to their decision to arm themselves and ultimately shoot a man who was trying to run away.

In Ida's aftermath, no quick relief in sight for Louisiana

Louisiana residents still reeling from flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Ida scrambled Wednesday for food, gas, water and relief from the sweltering heat as thousands of line workers toiled to restore electricity and officials vowed to set up more sites where people could get free meals and cool off. There was a glimmer of hope when power company Entergy announced its crews had turned power on for parts of eastern New Orleans, but did not specify how many homes and businesses had lights. Still, power and water outages affected hundreds of thousands of people, many of them with no way to get immediate relief. 

Black women seeing guns as protection from rising crime

Valerie Rupert raised her right arm, slightly shaking and unsure as she aimed at the paper target representing a burglar, a robber or even a rapist. The 67-year-old Detroit grandmother squeezed the trigger, the echo of her shot blending into the chorus of other blasts by other women off the small gun range walls. Black women like Rupert increasingly are considering gun ownership for personal protection, according to industry experts and gun rights advocates. Fear of crime, especially as shootings and murders have risen in cities big and small, is one driver of the trend. But a new motivator is the display of public anger in the last 15 months beginning with confrontations in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin.

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