Ahmaud Arbery forever!
A verdict has been reached in the cold-blooded killing of Arbery. CNN reports jurors found Travis McMichael and his son Gregory McMichael guilty of murder. Travis is the one who pulled the trigger and fatally shot Arbery. The father and son face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. They were also convicted of one count of malice murder and four counts of felony murder.
In addition, they’re indicted on three separate federal hate crime charges; interference with rights, attempted kidnapping and using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. They pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and their federal trial will take place in February. If convicted they face another life sentence.
William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. the neighbor of the McMichaels, was also found guilty of felony murder. Bryan also faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Jurors convicted him of felony murder but acquitted him of the malice murder charge for filming the killing, CNN points out. Bryan is indicted on separate federal hate crime charges, which include interference with rights and attempted kidnapping. Bryan pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, has trial in February, and faces life. All three men remain in state custody.
NY Times reports Arbery’s family “jumped, clapped and cried out.”
— Gia Peppers, A Virgo Grooving 💁🏾♀️ (@GiaPeppers) November 24, 2021
Details on the trial:
The jury consisted of one Black member and 11 White members. The jury selection (approved by Judge Walmsley) raised eyebrows for those concerned about the fairness of the case. Before deliberations, Judge Walmsley reminded the jury of the citizen’s arrest law. He described the law as such:
“A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony, and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable or probable grounds of suspicion.”
The judge added that a “private person” may not attempt to make a citizen’s arrest based on the “unsupported statement of others alone.” In addition, the citizen’s arrest must happen “immediately after” the crime occurs or “in the case of felonies, during escape.” The judge continued,
“If the observer fails to make the arrest immediately after the commission of the offense, or during the escape in the case of felonies, his power to do so is extinguished,” CNN points out.
Prosecutors and the defense team argued if the defendants had the right to make a citizen’s arrest, which is legal in the state when they viscously killed Arbery, who was simply out for a jog. Prosecutors say the defendants didn’t have the right because they didn’t observe or had “immediate knowledge” of any crime committed by Arbery.
The lawyers for the three white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery called for a mistrial. They claimed that when Arbery’s mother cried when a photo of Arbery was shown denied the men a fair trial. In addition, the defense claims the presence of civil rights leaders would “influence jurors.” The judge denied the motion. Last week, over 200 pastors gathered outside the Glynn County courthouse in response to defense attorney Kevin Gough’s previous comments that he “didn’t want any more Black pastors” in the courtroom.
The cold-blooded murder of Arbery sparked national outrage and ignited protests worldwide. The three white men pleaded not guilty and maintained they acted in self-defense. The McMichaels and Bryan were also indicted on federal hate crime charges in April, and they’ve all pleaded not guilty.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 24, 2021
On February 23, 2020, The McMichaels, and Bryan Jr. chased Arbery as he went for a jog in Glynn County, Georgia. At the time, the three white men suspected Arbery of robbing a house under construction in the neighborhood. They claim they saw him allegedly burglarize the property via a security camera.
The three white men decided to take matters into their hands and attempt to make a citizen’s arrest. When they caught up to Arbery in a truck, they cornered him, and Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery in cold blood. Travis McMichael also allegedly mumbled a racial epithet as he stood over Arbery’s body. During the trial, prosecutors said Bryan used his truck as a weapon. The state also said the men were the initial aggressors and didn’t act in self-defense.
It took law enforcement 74 days to arrest/charge the three white men because cell phone footage of the incident wasn’t made public until after the tragedy.
This is what social media is saying about the verdict:
This isn't justice
Justice wld be Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, & so many others at home w/their families
But this is accountability
And accountability is better than allowing lynchings to be committed w/ impunity
As has too often been the case
— NotATweeter16 (@NotATweeter16) November 24, 2021
"Repeat after me:
It’s the McMichael/Bryan trial.
The McMichael/Bryan trial
The McMichael/Bryan trial."
[Mitchell S. Jackson, Runner's World, November 24, 2021]
— Mike Smith (@DrMikeSmithPR) November 24, 2021
Thank God that the scales of justice remain working in our society!
Justice still reigns.
My heart is with Ahmaud’s family!
Rest in LOVE & JUSTICE, Ahmaud!
— #Fight4WhatsRight🥊🥊 (@DemsForHumanity) November 24, 2021