Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William R. Bryan, the three men convicted in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, were found guilty of federal hate crimes for violating the civil rights of Arbery and going after him because he was Black, according to the Associated Press.
The jury that consisted of eight white people, three Black people and one Hispanic person decided after hours of deliberating the charges against the McMichael’s and Bryan.
During the trial, there was evidence shown of Travis McMichael and William R. Bryan leaving behind a history of racist social media posts, comments and text messages in the years and months leading up to the fatal shooting of Arbery in Georgia on Feb. 23, 2020. Although, FBI agents were unable to access the phone of Greg McMichael because it was encrypted.
The verdict came down a day before the two-year anniversary of Arbery’s death.
From the Associated Press:
Shortly after the verdict was read, Arbery’s parents emerged from the courthouse holding hands with attorney Ben Crump, then raised their clasped hands to cheers from supporters.
“Ahmaud will continue to rest in peace. But he will now begin to rest in power,” said Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones. But, she added, “We as a family will never get victory because Ahmaud is gone forever.”
On Monday, the trial closed with the prosecution saying that the killing of Arbery was motivated by “pent-up racial anger” which was revealed by the text messages and witnesses that have heard Greg McMichael and William R. Bryan using racist slurs and insults, according to the Associated Press.
Amy Lee Copeland, Travis McMichael’s attorney, argued that the prosecution shared no evidence that he talked about the death of Arbery in racial terms and that Travis shot Arbery in self-defense after Arbery tried to take his shotgun.
A.J. Balbo, Greg McMichael’s attorney argued that Greg chased Arbery because he was the man he had seen in security camera footage taken from a house under construction and not because he was a Black man.
More from the Associated Press:
Defense attorneys contended the three didn’t chase and kill Arbery because of his race but acted on the earnest, though erroneous, suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood.
The McMichaels and Bryan had pleaded not guilty to the hate crime charges. Defense attorneys contended the three didn’t chase and kill Arbery because of his race but acted on the earnest, though erroneous, suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood.