Three Men Indicted On Murder Charges Over Death Of Ahmaud Arbery In Georgia
Three men have been indicted on murder charges in the killing of unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
Travis McMichael, 34, Gregory McMichael, 64, and William Bryan, 50, are now facing charges including malice and felony murder after being indicted by a grand jury.
Ahmaud, 25, was pursued and shot dead on February 23 while jogging through a neighbourhood in Brunswick. The men later told police they had believed him to be a burglary suspect. It was also revealed Travis McMichael cursed and said a racist slur just after he shot Ahmaud.
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The McMichaels were not charged until May 7, two days after footage was leaked from Bryan’s phone that showed the shooting. Bryan was arrested on May 22 on felony murder charges, as well as a criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
As per an autopsy report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Arbery was shot three times, including a number of shots in the chest.
District Attorney Joyette Holmes said:
This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond.
Cobb District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes said:
We will continue to be intentional in the pursuit of justice for this family and the community at large as the prosecution of this case continues.
Holmes stated that Arbery’s family ‘had no idea when some of the next steps would happen after the last preliminary hearing’, adding ‘they were extremely happy’ about the verdict.
Following the indictment, Ahmaud’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told NBC Nightly News:
At this point I do believe the case is moving in the right direction. This just empowers us to fight. This is just the first steps of it – we still have a long way to go.
According to AP News, the McMichaels’ defence team have cautioned against a rush to judgement. Bryan’s lawyer maintains that his client had merely been a witness to the crime.
This indictment comes as Georgia governor Brian Kemp announced plans to sign a hate crimes bill after the Legislature voted to approve it.
On Tuesday, June 23, the state Senate voted to pass HB 426, which was then passed by a vote of 127-38 by the House.
This new bill will bring about enhanced criminal penalties for those who target people on account of factors such as their race, gender or sexual orientation.
Georgia is one of just four US states without a hate crime law, with South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming also lacking such legislation.
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