BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — All three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder Wednesday.
The jury reached its decision after more than 10 hours of deliberations following a trial in which prosecutors argued that the defendants provoked a confrontation with Arbery and defense attorneys said their clients were acting in self-defense.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to pursue the 25-year-old Black man after seeing him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020. Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan joined the pursuit in his own pickup and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery.
Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the graphic video leaked online two months later.
FOX8 spoke to Reverend Gregory Drumwright about Wednesday’s verdict.
“We see some light. We see some change after so much activism and so much work that has been deposited to uplift the consciousness of America. I am rejoicing with the Abery family,” Drumwright said.
Though prosecutors didn’t argue that racism motivated the killing, federal authorities have charged all three men with hate crimes, alleging they chased and killed Arbery because he was Black. All three defendants are white.
“The American Justice system has not worked for the black American for so long, but today. We finally see a glimmer of hope,” Drumwright said.
The men were charged with murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and attempted false imprisonment.
“We must realize that we must still love our neighbor,” Drumwright said. “We must still love our brother. We must still understand that we have to continue to fight. But in the fight, we must not become bitter we must not become angered”
The White House released the following statement from President Joe Biden on Wednesday:
“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 country. Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery. 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. 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.”