A jury in Georgia found all three men responsible for Ahmaud’s murder, a 25 year-old Black man, guilty of murder. He was killed while jogging in February 2020.
The three white men who killed Arbery — Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan — were charged with murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and attempt to falsely imprison.
Bryan filmed a cell phone video of the men following Arbery as he jogged in their neighborhood, Brunswick, Georgia. Bryan leaked the video. After following Arbery for several hours, they finally caught him and brought him up with a gun. Travis McMichael was holding the weapon and shot Arbery multiple time, ultimately killing him.
The trio claimed that they stalked and killed Arbery because they suspected him of being involved in burglaries in the area — despite the fact that Arbery, who was unarmed, was doing nothing but exercising. “There’s a Black male running down the street,” Greg McMichael said in a 911 callMade briefly before his son killed Arbery in broad daylight.
Arbery’s murder — which his family and civil rights leaders have equated to a modern-day lynching — recieved Georgian authorities pay little attentionHe was killed months before his cell phone video became public.
“Remember, if local authorities in Georgia had their way, no one would have ever been charged for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery,” author and commentator Keith Boykin saidIn the wake of the verdict. “It took weeks of protest before charges were even brought in the case, 74 days after Arbery was shot and killed in February 2020.”
After the video’s release, it was revealed that local prosecutor Jackie Johnson had instructed authorities not to arrest the three men. Johnson, who was defeated in 2020 by the local prosecutor, was indicted by a grand jury. “showing favor and affection” to Gregory McMichaelThe woman who used to work at her office was Judith.
Although the murder verdict was celebrated by racial justice advocates, they maintained that true justice won’t be achieved until there is far-reaching systemic change.
“#AhmaudArbery’s murder was an act of white supremacy emboldened by GA’s laws. This is not justice, but today is a step toward accountability,” read a tweet from Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
“This verdict upholds a sense of accountability, but not true justice. 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,” Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) said. “Ahmaud should be with us today.”
Yamiche Alcindor, PBS’s White House correspondent, shared the same sentiments. “We can now legally call the killers of Ahmaud Arbery murderers. But I’m reminded that to those who loved Arbery and to so many others real justice would be him alive today and able to run without being attacked,” she wrote.
A number of racist incidents were also exposed by the trial. self-defense and citizen’s arrest statutesThese laws empower self-proclaimed vigilantes to stalk and detain Black people with impunity. Bryan and McMichaels were unsuccessful in their attempt to argue that the men were complying with these laws when Arbery was killed.
Since Arbery’s murder, Georgia has repealed the ambiguous version of the citizen’s arrest law that existed at the time of his death. But lawmakers replaced it with a new citizen’s arrest statuteEvery state in the country has its own version of such laws.