Ahmaud Arbery Murder Suspects Now Facing Federal Hate Crime Charges
The three Georgia men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery will also face federal hate crime charges, according to the Department of Justice.
Arbery, 25, was shot and killed on February 23, 2020, after being pursued by three white men – Gregory McMichael, 64, his son Travis McMichael, 34, and William ‘Roddie’ Bryans, 50 – while out for an afternoon jog in the neighbourhood of Satilla Shores in Brunswick, Georgia.
While no charges were made immediately after the incident, footage of the shooting soon emerged that prompted an outside prosecutor to take the case forward. His death was described by his family as a ‘modern-day lynching’.
As per a press release, the three men have each been charged with one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also charged with one count of using, carrying, and brandishing – and in Travis’s case, discharging – a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
The charges have racked up against the trio, who are also facing charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Arbery, who was unarmed, had been reportedly mistaken for a burglar after stopping in a house under construction, sparking the three men to chase him down in a truck before eventually shooting him three times.
Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones told CNN it was a ‘huge’ step. ‘It’s one step closer to justice. They did the investigation properly and they came out with those indictments. So, my family and I were pleased,’ she said.
He added, ‘This is an important milestone in America’s uphill march toward racial justice, and we applaud the Justice Department for treating this heinous act for what it is – a purely evil, racially motivated hate crime.’
Travis McMichael’s attorneys Jason Sheffield and Robert Rubin said in a statement, ‘We are deeply disappointed that the Justice Department bought the false narrative that the media and state prosecutors have promulgated.’
Bryans’ lawyer Kevin Gough also said, ‘Roddie Bryan has committed no crime. We look forward to a fair and speedy trial, and to the day when Mr. Bryan is released and reunited with his family.’
Earlier this year, Cooper-Jones filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three men charged with murder, as well as law enforcement authorities tied to the investigation.
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