As the three men who were convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery stood trial on hate crime charges in the 2020 killing of the 25-year-old Black man, a federal prosecutor told a jury how the three men had a long history of using racist slurs or comments in text messages that were appalling to those around them, 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.
The defense attorneys for the McMichaels and Bryan admit that they each had expressed nasty opinions about Black people in their past. However, they still argue that Arbery was chased for an honest suspicion that he had committed a crime and it had nothing to do with his race.
From the Associated Press:
Travis McMichael, she said, once texted a friend saying he loved his job because “zero n——rs work with me.” Commenting on an online video of a Black man lighting a firecracker stuffed in his nose, he messaged a friend saying: “It’d be cooler if it blew the f—-ing n——r’s head off,” Bernstein said. The friend was taken aback by how angry McMichael sounded, she said.
One allegation never mentioned in the prosecutor’s opening statement was that Bryan told investigators he heard Travis McMichael utter a racial slur after shooting Arbery. The comment was widely reported after Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Richard Dial testified to it during a June 2020 pretrial hearing in the state murder case. Travis McMichael’s attorneys denied he said it, and state prosecutors never brought up the comment during the murder trial.
As for Greg McMichael, Bernstein said a former colleague of his will testify that McMichael responded angrily in a conversation about the 2015 death of civil rights activist Julian Bond, saying: “Those Blacks are all nothing but trouble.”
And just days before Arbery was shot, Bernstein said, Bryan had become upset after learning that his daughter was dating a Black man. She said Bryan commented that his daughter “has her n——-r now.”
Pete Theodocion, William R. Bryan’s attorney told the jury according to the Associated Press,” I’ve heard the N-word more today than I’ve heard it in the past three or four years, and we haven’t even heard any evidence yet.”
The judge expects the federal hate crimes trial to last between seven and 12 days.
Unlike in the state murder trial in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the jury is not disproportionately white like it was in Georgia. Marcus Arbery, Ahmaud’s father, told reporters that he was “pleased” with the federal jury this time around, according to the Associated Press.