BOSTON (CBS) — The NFL Players Coalition, a group founded with the goal of seeking social justice and racial equality, has called upon the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
The 25-year-old Arbery was killed in late February in an incident that resulted in no arrests until this week.
“Today, we are in mourning and we write to request a prompt investigation by the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division into the tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery,” Anquan Boldin, co-founder of the Players Coalition, wrote.
The letter had 60 names attached, including Tom Brady’s. The list included active NFL players, retired NFL players, and NBA head coaches Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy.
The list of players also included several Patriots past and present: David Andrews, J’Whaun Bentley, Brandon Bolden, Terrence Brooks, Adam Butler, Patrick Chung, Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman, Hjalte Froholdt, Stephon Gilmore, Duron Harmon, Ryan Izzo, J.C. Jackson, Jakob Johnson, Jonathan Jones, Shaq Mason, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Derek Rivers, Matthew Slater, Kyle Van Noy, Benjamin Watson and James White.
The letter was also signed by notable active and retired players like Shaun Alexander, Warrick Dunn, Malcolm Jenkins, Cam Jordan, Brandon Marshall, Takeo Spikes and Troy Vincent.
Arbery — a black man — was killed in February by two white men. The father and son responsible for the killing faced no charges under some suspicious circumstances regarding local law enforcement agencies.
“The local investigation into this case is marred by conflicts, inaction, [prosecutor George] Barhill’s very deliverate attempt to ensure that Mr. Arbery received no justice, and the current prosecutor’s total failure to act until social media forced his hand,” Boldin wrote. “The local police force can never be independent, as the elder-McMichaels used to work there. And Mr. Barnhill’s statements about the case surely have tainted the local jury pool. If people are to have faith in the justice system, the Department of Justice must act with the FBI leading the investigation.”
It wasn’t until a video of the incident went viral that any progress was made, with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation filing murder and aggravated assault charges against Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael.
“We must strive to achieve the lofty but basic promise of equal justice, a promise on which our democracy depends,” Boldin wrote. “Having the DOJ intervene in this case and lead the investigation immediately will help us move toward that goal. If it does not, but instead chooses to turn its back on this obvious injustice, the DOJ will relinquish its role as the champion for the defenseless and send the unmistakable message that the federal government will not protect us from violence, prejudice, and injustice in our communities.”