Just a week after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of fatally shooting two people and killing a third during a night of protest in Kenosha, Wis., Americans looked at a verdict in another case that had hit the ground in the past year. National inquiry.
On Wednesday, Travis McMichael was found guilty of all nine counts related to the search and murder of Ahmaud Arbery, including felony. His father, Greg McMichael, was found guilty on eight counts, while a third man, William Bryan, was found guilty on six counts. They face life in prison.
The three men also face federal hate-crime charges in a separate trial starting February 7.
Read more: Jury finds all 3 men guilty of killing Ahmaud Arbery
“It’s been an uphill battle, but God be good,” said Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, during a press conference outside the Brunswick, Ga., courthouse, standing near Rev. Al Sharpton, a New York civil rights crusader. Were. Cooper-Jones said her son can now “rest in peace.”
“We’ve never had Thanksgiving Day like today,” Sharpton said.
“Today’s verdict was a decision based on facts, based on evidence, and that was our goal,” prosecutor Linda Dunnikowski said. “The jury system works in this country, and when you present the truth to people and they can see it, they will do the right thing,” she said. “That’s what this jury did today to bring Ahmed Arbery to justice.”
Travis McMichael’s lawyers called the decision “disappointing and sad” and said they plan to appeal. One of the lawyers, Jason Sheffield, said: “It’s a very difficult day for Travis McMichael and Greg McMichael.” He told both men, “Honestly believe that what they were doing was the right thing to do.”
“While we disagree with the verdict, we must respect it,” William Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, told the New York Times. He said Brian would file a motion for a new trial next week.
Cybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin—the black high-school student who was fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood-watch participant who was later acquitted— tweeted a photo card With the hashtags #Justice4AhmaudArbery and #RIPYoungKing following the guilty verdict.
President Joe Biden said in a statement: “While guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must re-commit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength.” where no one is afraid of violence because of the color of his skin.
Arbery, 25, was shot and killed while jogging on February 23, 2020 Via a South Georgia neighborhood, outside the port city of Brunswick. Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael armed themselves and followed Arbery in a pickup truck, and neighbor William Bryan joined the chase and recorded video of Travis McMichael shooting as Arbery grabbed McMichael’s shotgun. Had taken.
No arrests were made until nearly two months after the fatal incident, however, when a leaked cellphone video of Brian went viral on social media and sparked a national outcry.
Arbery’s death joins the deaths of black men and women including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks in 2020, sparking a renewed national take on race, police brutality and vigilantism. So reactions to the verdict were divided on Wednesday, with the names of Arbery, McMichaels and Brian revealed, and the hashtag #guilty topping the trending Twitter topics following the decision’s announcement.
civil rights lawyer Ben Crump issued a statement, writing, “After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and contemplating whether Ahmaud’s killers will be held responsible, the Arbery family has finally found some justice.”
“We can now legally call the killers of Ahmed Arbery murderers,” tweeted journalist Yamiche Alcindor, host of “Washington Week” on PBS.
Similar to Rittenhouse’s recent trial and acquittal, race has been a central issue in this case – including Controversial selection of an almost all-white jury, Arbery, who often went on the run, was black. The three men who were charged with his murder are white—and one of them, the elder McMichael, is a former police officer and investigator at the local district attorney’s office. The US Justice Department has been asked to investigate how the case was handled from the start.
The defense argued that the men had committed no crime, as they were making a civilian arrest and engaged in self-defense. The trio said they suspect Arbery has committed several recent thefts in the neighborhood. He also said Arbery matched the description of someone who had trespassed on a nearby under-construction home.
Prosecutors argued that there was no justification for the men to arm themselves and pursue Arbery. Police later said that only one burglary had been reported in the neighborhood, and that was about two months before the shooting. Surveillance video showed that several others had wandered into the same house under construction in the months before the fatal shooting.
The decision drew reactions from lawmakers and civil-rights leaders, as well as gun-rights activists and gun-control activists.
Shannon Watts, founder of gun-control group Moms Demand Action, tweeted that action was needed to rein in “Stand Your Ground” laws, which are seen as embracing actions that left Arbery and Trayvon Martin — Eight years, almost to this day, before him—dead:
Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia observed that justice was not fully served in the Brunswick courtroom, as Arbery should never have died:
“The true measure of justice is not in a verdict, but in creating a future where people do not live in fear of racial violence.” American Civil Liberties Union tweeted, “We will never stop working hard to achieve this future.”