The Ahmaud Arbery murder trail is officially underway following an extended and controversial juror selection procedure. After an 11-day process, the defense selected a jury with 11 white members and one Black member.
Many believe that a majority-white panel may influence the fate of Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and a neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, called the final call “devastating,” but expressed faith the group would “make the right decision.”
Singer Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas of the Grammy Award-winning R&B girl group TLC echoed a similar statement when TMZ caught up with her outside of the Los Angeles International Airport. The “No Scrubs” singer told reporters she hopes the racial makeup of the jury won’t persuade the final outcome.
“I look at it like this. We have to believe that there are kind, good-hearted people out there no matter what color they are, so I would say let’s look at it like that,” the 50-year-old stated. “Just because it’s not the same skin color doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be fair, because to me it’s pretty obvious what happened. We would just pray and hope that they see the same.”
When questioned whether it could be a fair verdict given the lack of Black representation, Chilli said “We have to hope and pray that it is. That’s all we can do. Just hope and pray that the people that were chosen would be fair, you know. Just be honest about it and not to be one-sided” she added.
Chilli later expressed that as “a Christian” she has to have “hope and believe that maybe some of those guys are too.” She added, “We just have to hope that, again, they’re gonna be truthful about this.”
The singer wants the decision to be based in humanity, noting that, “if it’s not right, it’s gonna be an outrage for sure and one that is understandable. Let’s just all hope and pray.”
Her brief interview made its way around the internet where many social media users appeared to disagree with the star, including one person who questioned whether the singer “watch the same news we watch?” Another person wrote, “At her big age ? This lady is in her 50’s acting naive like this.”
“Chili hasn’t had the same experiences as most of us because she found stardom as a teen,” wrote a third person. “Give her grace as she knows not what she is saying.”
All men accused of harassing and later murdering Arbery after chasing him down as he was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, have pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them.