All three white men have been found guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man whose death triggered protests in 2020 against racial injustice.
The three defendants, Gregory McMichael, 65; his son, Travis McMichael, 35, who fired the shots; and their neighbor William Bryan, 52, who shot the video of the murder, are looking at sentences of up to life in prison for the crimes. All three have also been indicted on separate federal charges including hate crimes and attempted kidnapping, and are expected to stand trial in February on those charges.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, talked to the media and supporters who had surrounded the courthouse for days while the jury deliberated, chanting Arbery’s name and “no justice, no peace.” Supporters held signs that said “justice for Ahmaud” with photos of him smiling in a baseball cap.
“I never thought this day would come—but God is good,” Cooper Jones told the crowd.
Arbery was shot while out jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020, after being confronted by the McMichaels, who claimed they were defending themselves while making a citizen’s arrest. Arbery family lawyers called the death a lynching.
It took more than two months for the men to be arrested, along with the neighbor who filmed the shooting and death. A 36-second clip filmed from a vehicle following Arbery went public on May 5, 2020. The arrest only happened after Bryan’s cellphone video went viral, resulting in nationwide outrage.
“Without the video this case is never even brought to trial. Without the love of a black parent, this case never goes to trial,” tweeted Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation.
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