All Three Defendants in Ahmaud Arbery Case Found Guilty of Murder
18:42 GMT 24.11.2021 (Updated: 01:12 GMT 25.11.2021)
A Georgia jury on Wednesday found the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery's 2020 killing guilty of felony murder.
The trial of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan in a Georgia Superior Court ended on Wednesday with the jury delivering its verdict on the nine charges against each of the men in connection with the killing of Arbery.
Travis McMichael, 35, was found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two cases of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Travis' father, Gregory, 65, faced the same nine charges as Travis but was found not guilty of malice murder. He was found guilty on all other counts.
William Bryan, 52, was found not guilty of malice murder and of one count of felony murder, but was found guilty on three other felony murder counts; he was found not guilty on one aggravated assault charge but guilty on the other, and was also found guilty of false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Someone in the galley yelled a celebratory “wooo” at the reading of the first verdict, who the judge verbally castigated and had removed from the court; according to CNN, it was Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery, Sr.
"It’s been a hard fight, but God is good.. I never saw this day back in 2020, I never thought this day would come," Ahmaud's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said, "He will now rest In peace."
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who served as legal counsel to the Arbery family, said in a statement
that the verdict "certainly indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line."
"This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed ... the violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness. But yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice," Crump said. "America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching Keep fighting for what is right. And never stop running for Ahmaud."
Outside the courthouse, demonstrators waved red, black and green African liberation flags and chanted "We got justice!"
US President Joe Biden also had words about the verdict, saying that "nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished."
'A Modern-Day Lynching'
The trio of white men claimed that on February 23, 2020, they had attempted to carry out a citizen's arrest of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man out for a jog on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, who they arbitrarily suspected of burglary.
In an incident captured on video by Bryan, the three men chased down Arbery in their truck and cut off his route of escape before confronting him with firearms. Arbery was unarmed and attempted to flee from the men before being shot three times by Travis using a shotgun, killing him.
Among the evidence the jury heard
was that none of the men ever spoke to Arbery during the so-called citizen's arrest, and they could be heard on the video calling him racial epithets
. Arbery's father described his son's killing as a “modern-day lynching.”
After video of Arbery's killing
went viral on social media in May 2020, it helped fuel the massive Black Lives Matter protests that swept the United States
, becoming the largest social uprising the country had seen in half a century, since the civil rights battles of the 1960s.
The Georgia jury's decision comes just days after another prominent case from the 2020 BLM protests was decided in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The jury in that case found 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts
in the shooting deaths of two white men and the wounding of a third during protests in Kenosha in August 2020 over the shooting of a Black man named Jacob Blake
by a white police officer. Rittenhouse said he traveled to Kenosha from Illinois to defend shops from looting and shot the three men in self-defense.