Prosecutors in Georgia believe that racist texts and social media posts should be included as evidence against the three men charged with the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
AJC reports state prosecutors believe the posts are “proof of motive.” Recent court filings show that prosecutors wish to enter a “racial highway video Facebook post,” “a racial Johnny Rebel Facebook post,” and a racist text message as evidence against Travis McMichael. All three items were either posted or sent during 2019. Prosecutors also wish to enter an “Identity Dixie Facebook post” and “Racial Johnny Rebel Facebook post” as evidence against Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael’s father.
On Feb. 23, Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan chased down Arbery and shot him three times in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Ga., killing him. The three men said they chased Arbery because they believed he was responsible for a string of robberies in the neighborhood. Police said they found no evidence that Arbery had stolen anything from the neighborhood.
Prosecutors also wish to introduce racist text messages that Bryan sent as evidence. During a July bond hearing, lead prosecutor Jesse Evans said Bryan frequently used the n-word in texts that contained “a lot of filth.”
During a preliminary hearing in June, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Richard Dial testified that Bryan heard Travis McMichael say “fucking nigger,” while standing over Arbery’s body. Attorneys for McMichael said that it was impossible for Bryan to have heard him say that as he was in his car when the shooting occurred.
A separate court filing revealed that prosecutors also requested for Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley to forbid the defense from introducing “bad character” evidence against Arbery during the trial. This would include prior run-ins with law enforcement, his mental health history and any prior convictions he may have. They believe that such evidence is “irrelevant and inadmissible as to the issues in this case, including the issues of self-defense.”
A trial date has yet to be set due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and all three defendants are currently in jail. In June, a grand jury indicted all three men with malice murder and aggravated assault among other charges. In July, it was revealed that William Bryan is also a suspect in a sex crime investigation. Bryan was denied bond in July with a bond hearing still to be set for both Travis and Greg McMichael.