One year after Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while jogging through a neighborhood in Georgia, his mother is speaking out.
“It replays in my mind each and every day,” Wanda Cooper-Jones told the NBC’s Blayne Alexander of Today, speaking about the video footage that surfaced months after her son was fatally shot.
Arbery, 25, was shot and killed in broad daylight on February 23, 2020 after being chased down a suburban neighborhood street in Brunswick by three men. Authorities allege that the men — Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan — confronted Arbery with two firearms after they saw him exercising, and that Travis fatally shot him during a struggle over Travis’ shotgun.
Initially, multiple prosecutors declined to bring charges against the suspects, but that changed months afterward when video footage of the shooting surfaced, sparking a national outcry.
All three suspects are charged with nine felony counts: malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
The suspects have pleaded not guilty, and a trial date has not yet been set. They are currently behind bars without bond.
Their attorneys have said the men thought Arbery was a burglar and they were making a citizen’s arrest. Arrests by citizens are legal in Georgia dating back to a law passed in 1863, the Associated Press reports.
PEOPLE confirms that Cooper-Jones filed a civil lawsuit on Tuesday in the Southern District of Georgia against the three men. Also named in the suit: more than a dozen law enforcement officers and the Glynn County District Attorney.
Cooper-Jones is seeking more than $1 million in damages.
The lawsuit alleges that Glynn County law enforcement authorized the suspects to act as law enforcement within the community, after a string of burglaries at a construction site.
The AP reports that Gov. Brian Kemp is asking Georgia lawmakers to greatly reduce the circumstances under which citizens can make arrests.
Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Richard Dial testified during a preliminary hearing last June that Bryan told authorities that Travis McMichael called Arbery the n-word as he lay dying.
Dial also alleged that prior to Arbery’s death, Travis had used racial slurs in the past, in both text messages and on social media.
For Cooper-Jones, the pain of losing her son has only gotten worse, she told Alexander.
“As time passes, I realize that Ahmaud is never coming back,” she said.
“I think before I was in — numb. I was in a state of just being numb,” she said. “As the days has passed, the numbness has left and I’m really — it’s very painful. Very painful.”