Newswire : Ahmaud Arbery’s killers found guilty of hate crimes in Federal Court

Ahmaud Arbery and his mother


By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


A federal jury found Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan guilty on all counts in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
The verdict came on the eve of the anniversary of Arbery’s murder.
The McMichaels and Bryan chased Arbery through their mostly white Georgia neighborhood in their pickup trucks, cornering him before Travis McMichael shot the innocent jogger with a shotgun.
The trio was convicted in state court and given life sentences. The federal charges included a hate crime that exposed each of the men’s history of racism. Throughout the one-week trial, defense attorneys tried to sell the jury that, while the men weren’t “likable,” their actions weren’t driven by racial hatred.
However, Prosecutor Christopher Perras ferociously attacked that stance. The murder “was driven by their pent-up racial anger and [Travis McMichael] was just looking for a reason,” Perras insisted. He also noted that if the men thought Arbery had committed a crime, they never alerted the police.
Trial testimony from FBI intelligence analyst Amy Vaughan revealed a host of racist remarks from Travis McMichael. Vaughn testified that Travis McMichael and his friends routinely used racist slurs directed at African Americans.
One text from Travis McMichael to a friend describes how he enjoyed his new job because he didn’t have to work with Black people.
“They ruin everything,” McMichael wrote. “That’s why I love what I do now. Not a [n-word] in sight.”
In a Facebook video that purportedly shows a group of Black teenagers beating a white youth, Travis McMichael commented, “I say shoot them all,” and he referred the group as “monkeys.”
Travis McMichael also referred to a woman who dated a Black man as an “[N-word] lover.”
Kim Ballesteros, who lived next door to the McMichaels, told the court about a conversation in which Gregory McMichael used racist language to describe a tenant he had.
“She was a large Black woman who did not pay her rent very well,” Ballesteros told the court. “Their name for her was the walrus.”
When Gregory McMichael told her that the woman didn’t pay her rent on time, he disabled her air conditioning unit. “You should have seen how fast her big fat Black a– came with the rent check,” Gregory McMichael said, according to Ballesteros.
The FBI’s Vaughan also testified that Bryan often used the n-word and words like “bootlip” to describe Black people.
She said he routinely slurred African Americans on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Happy Bootlip Day,” Bryan told a friend in one message. “I worked like a [n-word] today,” he stated.
Perras dismissed any notion that the defense attorney’s claims on behalf of his clients somehow justified their deadly actions. “There’s a big difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante,” he told the jury. “It’s important for you to understand the full depth of the defendants’ racial hatred.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump released the following statement following the verdict:
“Tomorrow marks two years since Ahmaud Arbery was stalked, trapped, and murdered in cold blood as he jogged through his Brunswick neighborhood. And today, after much sorrow, grief, and pain, Ahmaud’s family can finally put this chapter behind them. For the last 24 months, they’ve dedicated themselves to getting justice for their son. They’ve had to relive his brutal murder, watch and listen as he was demonized in court, and fight to share with the world who Ahmaud Arbery was and who he could have been had his young life not been so violently cut short.
“For many of us, there was never any doubt that Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan targeted Ahmaud because of his skin color. But because of indisputable video evidence, disgusting messages sent by the defendants, and witness testimony, their hate was revealed to the world and the jury. We hope and demand that the severity of their crimes are reflected in the sentencing, as well.
“Ahmaud Arbery was denied the opportunity to define his own legacy, but America, we have the power to ensure that it is one that propels our fight for equal justice and dispels hate from this world. That is how we continue to honor Ahmaud and make sure his death was not in vain.”

Newswire: After guilty verdicts, Civil Rights Leaders exhort Black America to ‘Never Stop Running for Ahmaud’

By Stacy Brown, NNPA Newswire

After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery would pay for their heinous crime, the 25-year-old’s family finally received justice.
A Glynn County, Georgia, convicted Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan of felony murder. “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump exclaimed.
“Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul,” Crump continued.
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson called the verdicts long overdue. “Ahmaud Arbery’s death was unnecessary and fueled by racist ideologies deeply engrained into the fabric of this nation,” Johnson insisted. “Generations of Black people have seen this time and time again, with the murder of Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, and many others,” he continued.
“The actions and events perpetrated by the McMichaels and William Bryan leading up to Ahmaud’s death reflect a growing and deepening rift in America that will be its undoing if not addressed on a systemic level. “We must fix what is genuinely harming our nation: white supremacy.”
The jury found Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery in February 2020, guilty of all nine charges, including malice murder and four counts of felony murder.
The panel found his father, Gregory, not guilty of malice murder but convicted him on felony murder, unlawful imprisonment, and other charges.
Bryan escaped a guilty verdict on malice murder, but the jury found him guilty of three felony murder counts, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal intent to commit a felony.
The men, who also face federal charges, could spend life in prison when sentenced. Judge Timothy Walmsley bound the men over and will soon set a sentencing date.
“Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. This tragedy should have never happened,” said Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, who is a Democrat. “I am keeping his family in my prayers. But we must move forward together to dispel the shadows of our past and to ensure the safety and civil rights of every American,” Demings asserted.
Crump insisted that Black America must keep fighting for civil rights and justice. “This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed,” Crump demanded.
“The violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness. Yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice,” Crump remarked.
“[The verdict] indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line. America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right. And never stop running for Ahmaud.”

Newswire :Shooting death in Georgia of Ahmaud Arbery, is defined as a “Modern Day Lynching”

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Ahmaud Arbery


Months after the U.S. House passed a new lynching law, which has been held up by the Republican led U.S. Senate, and a day after investigative journalist Ida B. Wells was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize — a lynching story dated February 23, 2020 is in the news.
The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, went viral on social media on May 6, months after his murder. The video shows Arbery jogging down a street in Brunswick, Georgia. It appears to demonstrate the involvement of three men — two on a pickup truck and another filming the scene from behind.
Arbery’s death took place on February 23rd about three miles from where he lived. Arbery was an avid jogger and played football.
The two men on the pickup truck have been identified through numerous media reports as Greg McMichael, a retired investigator in the Brunswick District Attorney’s office, and his son Travis McMichael. They appear to follow Arbery from behind as he is jogging down a suburban street. Travis McMichael, the alleged shooter, is seen confronting Arbery and part of a struggle ensues in and outside of the camera’s range. The sound of shotgun fire is heard. Arbery is then seen on video collapsing after the sound of the gunshot in front of the truck.
Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself because one of the men seen in the video of the fatal shooting pointing a gun at Arbery worked in the district attorney’s office.
During an exclusive interview on Roland Martin Unfiltered on May 7th with Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones confirmed there was no support of her from anyone in the small Georgia community after her son died. That is changing. Since the viral video has been widely seen everyone from LeBron James to former Vice President Biden and President Trump has commented on Arbery’s death.
“Initially I was told there was a burglary and a struggle over a firearm,” Cooper-Jones said on Roland Martin Unfiltered. She confirmed she has not watched the video of her son’s death but the description of it from others did not line up with what authorities told her after her son died.
“I need to get these men indicted. They need to go to jail. Two months has been too long,” said Jones on Martin’s show answering a question from Dr. Gregg Carr, the Chairman of the African American Studies Department at Howard University.
Late on May 7, Greg and Travis McMichael were finally arrested. Many observers of the breaking news warned that the exotic charges and where any future court case is likely to take place matters.
The Congressional Black Caucus had demanded arrests the day before and released a statement that in part read, “the killing of Ahmaud Arbery shows us that the spirit of lynching is still alive and well in our nation and something that we cannot tolerate.”
“The scary thing for me is the they thought the video would help his client. The culture is so backwards down there they actually thought that,” said Arbery family attorney Lee Merritt on Roland Martin Unfiltered. The case has widely been compared to the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida by George Zimmerman.
“What happened to #AhmaudArbery is a MODERN DAY LYNCHING. This February, the House overwhelmingly passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would make lynching a federal crime,” wrote Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)
South Carolina Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott wrote, “ Every.single.time. The excuses pour in – ‘he looked suspicious’… ‘we thought he was committing a crime”…The fact remains, #AhmaudArbery was hunted down from a pickup truck and murdered in cold blood. My heart breaks for his family, and justice must be served.”
Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, Arbery was “shot down in cold blood,” and his killing reflected a “rising pandemic of hate.”
“AhmaudArbery should still be alive right now. This is tragic and unacceptable. It should ignite us all in demands for justice. I’m calling on the Department of Justice to investigate. We need justice for Ahmaud and his family,” wrote Sen. Cory Booker on twitter.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Newswire : Two white men arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Black jogger in Brunswick, GA

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

Ahmaud Arbery



The Georgia Bureau of investigation on Thursday arrested a father and son, charging them with the murder of a black jogger more than three months after the deadly shooting, but only two days after a cellphone video surfaced that sparked national outrage and demands for justice.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were charged with murder and aggravated assault for the February 23 deadly shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, as he jogged through the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, according to the GBI. The McMichaels were booked into the Glynn County Jail.
Arbery, who would have celebrated his 26th birthday Friday, was out for a run when Gregory McMichael,64, a retired Glynn County cop, and now an investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and another man only identified as “Roddy” chased down Arbery in their pickup truck and another vehicle before confronting and killing him.
The elder McMichael claims Arbery had been burglarizing houses in the neighborhood and that’s why they chased him down. Gregory McMichael was armed with a .357 Magnum revolver and Travis was armed with a shotgun. It is not known what type of weapon, if any, Roddy carried.
When the men caught up with Arbery, the video, which appears to have been shot from inside a vehicle, shows he jogged around the truck. Travis, however, got out of the vehicle, struggled with Arbery over the rifle before Travis shot him twice, killing him.
Police refused to charge the McMichael’s for Arberry’s murder, arguing that Travis Michael shot Arberry in self-defense. The police did not say anything about Arberry having the right to defend himself from two men with guns accosting him.
Police arrested the McMichaels following the release of a video on Tuesday.
Alan Tucker, an attorney and friend of the two men, said he released the video to clear up any misconceptions about what had happened.
The video, however, alarmed elected officials, including Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Others said Arbery had been lynched.
The politicians demanded that police arrest the McMichael
A Black woman district attorney was named as the lead prosecutor handling the Ahmaud Arbery murder case in which two white men have been accused in the killing of an unarmed Black man while he was jogging in Georgia. This is after three white prosecuting attorneys in the Glynn mitigate the County area withdrew from the case citing prior relationships with the accused killers.
Joyette Holmes, the district attorney in Cobb County and a former judge, was appointed on Monday to take over prosecuting the case surrounding the killing in the town of Brunswick. She is also a Republican who was selected for her current position by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
According to her official bio, Holmes “was sworn in as District Attorney of the Cobb Judicial Circuit on July 1, 2019. She has been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney in Cobb. Most recently, she served for four years as Chief Magistrate of Cobb County.” She is the county’s first African American district attorney and its first woman district attorney. Holmes’ predecessor left to take over the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), prompting Kemp to appoint her to fill the role. Prior to becoming the Cobb County district attorney, Holmes was the chief magistrate judge of the Cobb County Magistrate Court from 2015-2019.