Two of the three white men who were convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery were found to use racial slurs in text messages and social media posts, an FBI witness testified Wednesday in their federal hate crimes trial, according to the Associated Press.
William R. Bryan, Travis and Greg McMichael are on trial in the U.S. District Court and are charged with hate crimes that allege they violated Arbery’s civil rights and went after him because he was Black.
Amy Vaughn, an FBI intelligence analyst, guided the jury through a plethora of conversations that Travis McMichael, Arbery’s shooter, and William R. Bryan, the man who recorded the shooting, had with others in the months leading up to Arbery being killed, according to the Associated Press.
The phone of Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael’s father, was not accessed by the feds because it was encrypted.
From the Associated Press:
In text and Facebook conversations with friends, Travis McMichael frequently used the N-word to describe Black people. In a Facebook conversation with a friend, he also shared a video of a young Black boy dancing on a TV show with a racist song that included the N-word playing over it. He also said that Black people “ruin everything” and said more than once he was glad he wasn’t a Black person, using a racial slur.
In other social media posts, Travis McMichael mentioned violence against Black people. In December 2018, he commented on a Facebook video of a Black man playing a prank on a white person: “I’d kill that f——ing n——r.”
And in June 2017, he shared a TV news story about a violent confrontation between two white women and two Black customers upset about cold food at a Georgia restaurant, using a racial slur to comment that he would beat the Black people “to death if they did that to (name redacted by the FBI) or my mother and sister.” He added that he would have no more remorse than putting down a rabid animal.
The killers’ attorneys are claiming that their chase after Arbery was because they truly thought he committed a crime and not because he was Black. The jury in the hate crime trial is made up of eight white people, three Black people and one Hispanic person, according to the Associated Press.
In more evidence presented in court, text messages from Bryan also showed that he would frequently use derogatory terms against Black people to describe their physical appearance and even posted a meme on social media that implied that enslaved Europeans were treated worse than enslaved Africans in America.
More from the Associated Press:
Evidence presented in court Wednesday showed Bryan also used the N-word, but his preferred slur was a derogatory characterization of a Black person’s lips. Over a number of years, Bryan exchanged racist messages on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that mocked the holiday. In messages sent in the days surrounding Arbery’s killing, Bryan was upset that his daughter was dating a Black man.
Greg McMichael posted a meme on Facebook in 2016 saying white Irish slaves were treated worse than any race in the U.S. but that the Irish aren’t asking for handouts.
Marcus Arbery, Arbery’s father said, “I ain’t really shocked” and did not know “all that hate was in those three men,” according to the Associated Press.