BN: Ahmaud Arbery: Three men who killed black jogger found guilty

The three white men who chased and killed a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, while he was out jogging have been found guilty of his murder. The shooting happened in February 2020 and led to a fresh wave of racial justice protests in the US. 

Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and their neighbour William “Roddie” Bryan were each convicted for murder after chasing an unarmed Arbery and claiming, without evidence, he had been to blame for a rash of burglaries that happened in their neighbourhood. 

On Wednesday 24 November, the jury selected for the case came back with unanimous decisions. Travis McMichael who opened fire on Arbery three times with a pump-action shotgun was found guilty on his nine counts which included charges of malice and felony murder. 

Greg McMichael was in possession of a magnum revolver but did not open fire. He was convicted on eight of nine counts including felony murder. Bryan was following in a separate vehicle to the others and said he was not carrying a firearm. The jury found him guilty on six out of his nine counts which also included felony murder. 

They face life in prison for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, and it will be decided at a later date whether they will ever be eligible for parole. The defendants remained expressionless in the dock as the verdicts were read, while Ahmaud’s father, Marcus Arbery, was heard shouting in triumph. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones wept as the last man was declared guilty. 

Cooper-Jones addressed the crowd outside the courthouse. “It’s been a long fight, it’s been a hard fight, but God is good,” she said. “To tell you the truth I never saw this day in 2020, I did not think this day would come … Thank you, thank you for those who marched. Thank you to those who prayed.” She continued: “He [Ahmaud Arbery] will now rest in peace.”

Initially, the murder garnered very little interest from the eyes of the media, but a video taken by Bryan of the murder was leaked and made public. Three separate district attorneys recommended not bringing charges against the men before state investigators intervened. It took almost three months for any charges to be filed. 

The McMichaels had claimed the shooting was an act of self-defence and that they had attempted to enact a citizen’s arrest, an argument disputed by the prosecution, who said they had no probable cause to detain Arbery, a frequent jogger in the neighbourhood.

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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