Ahmaud Arbery's mother believes his murder shows more than the existence of racism in America -- she feels it's spreading like wildfire in small towns ... where people think they can get away with it.
Wanda Cooper-Jones tells TMZ ... her son's death is shining a light on a huge problem in the U.S., particularly in smaller towns in the south that she claims are racist and riddled with corruption.
She says what happened to her son in Glynn County, Georgia is Exhibit A right now. As you know ... Ahmaud was ambushed and killed by Gregory and Travis McMichael back in February, but no arrests were made until last week after video of the slaying leaked, and the case drew national attention and outrage.
Wanda tells us during the gap between her son's death and the arrests, she felt hopeless and feared there would be no justice ... but she's encouraged things are heading in the right direction now.
Still, she feels there's a long way to go. As we first told you, Ahmaud's family and legal team want everyone involved in his death to be convicted and "appropriately sentenced." For the McMichaels, at least, Wanda believes that means the death penalty.
Wanda opened up about much more on Wednesday's "TMZ Live" ... including why she's confident the newly appointed D.A. will get justice for her son, and why she believes there are several more people who should be arrested.