Can you hear that? It’s a collective sigh of relief. “Guilty.” Let’s just say it. “Thank God, this was not another Kyle Rittenhouse.”
The killers of Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty Wednesday for the February shooting and chase last year of the 25-year-old Black man, who was jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia, minding his own damn business.
According to CBS 46, Travis McMichael, the man who pulled the trigger and killed Arbery, was found guilty of all five counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one of count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael’s father, was found guilty of four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one of count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
The person who brought national attention to the incident by recording it, William R. Bryan, was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
From CBS 46 Atlanta:
Defense attorneys claimed the three men were attempting to make a citizen’s arrest because they thought he might have done something illegal. They also claimed that Travis McMichael was forced to shoot Arbery in self-defense during a struggle.
The jury began deliberations shortly before 11:30 a.m. Nov. 22 after a 13-day trial following weeks of jury selection. The trial featured 30 witnesses and nearly two days of closing arguments. They deliberated for about 6 hours before deciding to go home Tuesday night. They began deliberating again at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The men’s fate was decided by a jury of 11 whites and 1 Black man. Juries in Georgia are not supposed to consider the possible penalty when deciding on guilt or innocence since sentencing is up to the judge.
A CNN senior legal analyst said, “this was absolutely the right call, ” adding that all three white men played an “active role” in the murder of Arbery and the defense had “the absence of a claim, a viable claim of self-defense.”
Outside of the courthouse, the mother of Arbery, Wanda Cooper-Jones, reacted to the verdict saying, “thank you to each and every one of you who fought this fight with us.”
Hundreds of supporters waited outside of the courtroom while the jury was deliberating, according to CNN:
CNN’s Sara Sidner said most of the people have been waiting outside the whole time the jury was deliberating, some have even been outside the courthouse for the entire two weeks the trial was going on.
They have been chanting Arbery’s name, saying, “We’ve got justice.” Some people are waving flags. There were screams of relief and yelling when the first verdict was read, Sidner reported.
I must admit, it felt like this trial was headed in the wrong direction when the man who killed Arbery asked the court to ban a picture of his Confederate flag-themed license plate and earlier this month the killers got a nearly all-white jury except for one Black man.
But justice was served and all of the accused will be going to prison for it.
White people have to somehow end the belief that they have the autonomy to police Black people in any way that seems fit, whether they have evidence or not. Remember, that’s what happened in the Trayvon Martin case and the recent Rittenhouse case.
But Ahmaud Arbery received justice because the jury knew what the killers did was cold-blooded murder. As a result, these three white men will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison for their heinous actions.