A jury in Brunswick, Georgia found three white men guilty in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a pivotal case that sparked national debate about race.
Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan were charged with felony murder, willful manslaughter, aggravated assault and false imprisonment after Arbery, a black man, was shot dead last year. The jury that convicted the men consisted of 11 white and one Black members, sparking controversy over possible racial bias in the early stages of the trial.
On February 23, 2020, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael chased 25-year-old Arbery in a truck and then attacked her. Bryan joined the chase and filmed it. The defendants claimed they were trying to “arrest citizens” over concerns about theft in their Satilla Shores neighborhood. Travis McMichael claimed on the podium that he fired his gun as an act of self-defense after Arbery allegedly shot him during their encounter.
The verdict came days after a jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin. acquitted by Kyle Rittenhouse for killing two people and injuring another during protests against police brutality last year. Arbery’s fatal shooting and the case against Rittenhouse were a striking contrast to race and justice.
State’s attorney Linda Dunikoski presented evidence of a change in Travis McMichael’s critical statements to the police and the stand.
Travis McMichael at one point Arbery never threatened him He said he used the shotgun during their encounter and to defuse the situation with Arbery.
Prosecutors also noted that there was no evidence that Arbery had stolen anything from a nearby construction site. Security footage from the site showed Arbery and others, including a white man and woman, entering and leaving the site in the months prior to the incident, while owner Larry English said he had not reported anything stolen from the site.
Defense attorney Kevin Gough put forward in the arguments Arbery was responsible for his own death for “not surrendering” to McMichaels or Bryan during the chase.
The prosecution also noted that under Georgia state law governing the arrest of citizens, an alleged crime must occur “in the presence of a private citizen.” It must also be a felony, and trespassing or loafing is a misdemeanor, even if the defendants’ allegations against Arbery are substantiated.
Following Arbery’s death, Georgia repealed the arrest of its citizens law in a bipartisan effort by state legislators.
Dunikoski argued in his closing speech that the three men were following Arbery. based on assumptions rather than observed actions.
“They made the decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” Dunikoski told jurors.
The hit case featured a number of notable events, including when the defense asked the judge to sue the judge. remove black priests because their presence may affect the jury’s decision. In response, Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson held vigils outside the courthouse.
McMichaels and Bryan also face federal hate crime charges
Arbery’s murder sparked national outrage and protests in major cities across the country, and further disappointment after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
This is a developing story and will be updated.