On Tuesday, a 12-person jury found the three white men that chased down and murdered Ahmaud Arbery two years ago guilty of all charges in their federal hate crimes trial. With its guilty verdict, the jury agreed with the US Justice Department that the men pursued the 25-year-old African American Arbery through the streets of their neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia, and shot him because he was black. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told reporters outside the courthouse, “Ahmaud will continue to rest in peace. But he will now begin to rest in power.” She also said, “We as a family will never get victory because Ahmaud is gone forever.” Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud’s father, said his son used to call every day, even if it was just to tell his family that he loved them.
The three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced Friday to life in prison, with a judge denying any chance of parole for the father and son who armed themselves and initiated the deadly pursuit of the Black man in February 2020. The life sentences for Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, and his father, Gregory McMichael, do not carry the possibility of parole. Their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan will be eligible, however, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said. Bryan must serve at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
The testimony has concluded in the Georgia murder trial of the three white men who targeted Ahmaud Arbery because he was Black and then killed him. Evidence presented at trial transported us back to the days of the infamous slave patrols. Gregory McMichael, his son Travis, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are on trial for killing Arbery on February 23, 2020, during a purported “citizen’s arrest.” Racism has infected every aspect of this case — from the defendants’ racial profiling of Arbery, to the 10-week delay in filing charges, to the seating of a nearly all-white jury, to the defendants’ racist statements, to the defense’s attempt to ban Black pastors from attending the trial. Beginning in 1704, slave patrols empowered every white person to control the movements and activities of every Black person.
Savannah, Ga. — A former Georgia prosecutor was indicted Thursday on misconduct charges alleging she used her position to shield the men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery from being charged with crimes immediately after the shootings. A grand jury in coastal Glynn County indicted former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson on a felony count of violating her oath of office and hindering a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor. The indictment resulted from an investigation Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr requested last year into local prosecutors’ handling of Arbery’s slaying after a cellphone video of the shooting and a delay in charges sparked a national outcry. “While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice,” Carr, a Republican, said in a statement.
Racial justice advocates welcomed Wednesday's announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that three men imprisoned in Georgia on murder and other charges in connection with the death of unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery last February also have been charged with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping. According to a DOJ statement, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William 'Roddie' Bryan "were each charged with one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping." "Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing—and in Travis's case, discharging—a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence," the statement added.
While it took two and a half months for the authorities to finally make arrests in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, corporate media were much quicker to follow the time-honored practice of besmirching victims of racist violence (FAIR.org, 3/22/17). First they kill your body. Then they kill your reputation. When white supremacy is the foundation of the US’s media, political, legal and corporate system, victims of racist violence are often killed twice in this way. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on May 7 arrested former cop Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, for the murder of Arbery, an unarmed 25-year old African American out for a jog—only after a widely circulated video of the lynching became too difficult to ignore.