Defense lawyer 'evoked a runaway slave' in racist attack on Ahmaud Arbery: legal expert

On CNN Tuesday, civil rights expert and legal analyst Charles F. Coleman criticized the McMichael defense attorney's attack on Ahmaud Arbery's feet in her closing arguments on Monday, linking it back to stereotypes of runaway slaves.

"I have to ask you about what we heard from that defense attorney there, the long dirty toenails, because I know for you, it was evocative of some very specific and painful imagery," said anchor John Berman.

"What we saw was racism used as a legal strategy," said Coleman. "What we saw in that moment was George McMichael's attorney deciding to evoke images of a runaway slave in how she chose to characterize Ahmaud Arbery in that moment. And for the life of me, I can't understand why that may be, but the only answer I have is that when you're an attorney, you're trying cases, you have to know your audience. So something about that venue, something about that forum, something about that jury has given her the inkling that she may be able to trigger something latent, some sense of bigotry or racism somewhere in that courtroom that is going to be to her client's advantage."

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"What I saw in that moment, like so many others was reprehensible, and it is unquestionable that in that moment, what she tried to do was characterize Ahmaud Arbery as if he were some runaway, and as if her client and the other two defendants were part of a slave patrol intended to track him down and bring him in," continued Coleman. "And I find that to be extremely problematic. I have no idea why she would have engaged that other than she feels like it is going to resonate with the jury somehow."

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Charles Coleman says defense evoked runaway slave images in Amaud Arbery attack