Ahmaud Arbery verdict: All three men convicted as Kamala Harris slams defense for ‘dehumanizing’ Arbery

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Ahmaud Arbery’s mother reacts to three guilty verdicts for murder of son
Three white men have been found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger who they chased in their trucks then shot and killed as he made his way through a suburban neighbourhood in Georgia last February.
The shooting, along with the murder of George Floyd last May by police in Minneapolis, helped inspire 2020’s mass racial injustice protests.
Gregory McMichael, his son Travis, and their neighbour William “Roddie” Bryan faced a total of nine state charges, including malice murder, felony murder, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a 12-gauge shotgun, and aggravated assault with pickup trucks, after pursuing Mr Arbery, 25, through the community of Satilla Shores, near Brunswick, Georgia, on 23 February of last year.
The jury began deliberations on Tuesday in Glynn County, Georgia, and considered the charges for more than 10 hours, before handing back a complicated final decision.
Travis McMichael, the man who shot Mr Arbery, was found guilty on all nine counts.
Gregory McMichael, who rode in the same truck as his son Travis, where the men were armed with a pistol and a shotgun, was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty on all other counts.
Bryan, their neighbour, who joined the pursuit in his own truck and filmed the encounter, was found not guilty of malice murder and one count of felony murder, while being held guilty on three other counts of felony murder and three other charges.
All three defendants – Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan – have been found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger who they chased in their trucks then shot and killed as he made his way through a suburban neighbourhood in Georgia last February.
The shooting, along with the murder of George Floyd last May by police in Minneapolis, helped inspire 2020’s mass racial injustice protests.
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The men chased Ahmaud Arbery in their trucks before the 25-year-old was shot and killed
Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia has released a statement on the verdict, condemning the actions of Mr Arbery’s killers and hoping for national “healing.”
“Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of a vigilantism that has no place in Georgia,” Mr Kemp wrote. “As legal efforts continue to hold accountable all who may be responsible, we hope the Arbery family, the Brunswick community, our state, and those around the nation who have been following his case can now move forward down a path of healing and reconciliation.”
Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, could be seen nodding her head and shaking her hands with emotion as her son’s killers were declared guilty.
President Joe Biden has made a statement on the verdict, calling the murder “a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country.”
“Mr Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery,” the president said. “Nothing can bring Mr Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished.”
“While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough,” he went on. “Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin. My administration will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans.”
Ahmaud Arbery’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this
Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia has issued a statement on the Ahmaud Arbery verdict, hailing the outcome but saying it falls short of “true justice.”
“This verdict upholds a sense of accountability, but not true justice,” Mr Warnock wrote. “True justice looks like a Black man not having to worry about being harmed – or killed – while on a jog, while sleeping in his bed, while living what should be a very long life. Ahmaud should be with us today.”
There were cries in celebration and relief after three white men were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger who they shot and killed as he made his way through a suburban neighbourhood in Georgia in early 2020.
Georgia Democrat and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams took to Twitter, posting: “A jury believed the evidence of their eyes and saw the meanness in the killers’ hearts. May this verdict bring a small measure of peace to Ahmaud Arbery’s family and loved ones.”
The Reverend Al Sharpton, speaking outside the court following the verdict, noted the landmark decision by the jury: “And let the word go forth all over the world, that a jury of 11 whites and one Black in the Deep South stood up in the courtroom and said that Black lives do matter.”
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There were cries in celebration and relief after three white men were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger who they chased in their trucks then shot and killed as he made his way through a suburban neighbourhood in Georgia in early 2020.
Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, thanked a crowd of supporters on Wednesday after the guilty verdicts were announced.
“It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight. But God is good,” Ms Cooper-Jones said. “I never thought this day would come.”
Georgia’s attorney general, Chris Carr, praised the Ahmaud Arbery verdict in a statement.
“The loss of Ahmaud Arbery was a tragedy that should have never occurred,” Mr Carr, a Republican, wrote. “Today’s verdict brings us one step closer to justice, healing and reconciliation for Ahmaud’s family, the community, the state and the nation.”
Already convicted of murder, Ahmaud Arbery’s assailants will return to court in February for a federal hate crimes trial, after the US Department of Justice determined they targeted the Black Georgia man because of his race.
In April, a federal grand jury indicted Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael and William Bryan for civil rights violations and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels also were charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm used to kill Mr Arbery.
The McMichaels had “armed themselves with firearms, got into a truck and chased Mr Arbery through the public streets of a neighborhood while yelling at [Mr Arbery], using their truck to cut off his route and threatening him with firearms,” according to a federal indictment.
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Jury selection will begin in February after Justice Department accused three white men of targeting Ahmaud Arbery for his race
Vice President Kamala Harris hailed the guilty verdicts in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder trial, but also slammed the defendants’ lawyers for what she called their “racist” tactics.
“The defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a young Black man with racist tropes,” Ms Harris said in a statement on Wednesday. “The jury arrived at its verdicts despite these tactics.”
“Ahmaud Arbery was a son,” she went on. “He was a brother. He was a friend. His life had meaning. We will not forget him. We honor him best by continuing the fight for justice.”
Today, the jury rendered its verdicts and the three defendants were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Still, we feel the weight of grief. Ahmaud
People react outside the Glynn County Courthouse after the jury reached a guilty verdict in the trial of William “Roddie” Bryan, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael, charged with the February 2020 death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, in Brunswick, Georgia
REUTERS
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