Three men were found guilty Wednesday in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger who was chased and fatally shot last year in Brunswick, Georgia.
The jury convicted the three white men — Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. — of murder and the verdict was read on live television.
Travis McMichael was found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
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His father, Gregory McMichael, was convicted of felony murder. The third defendant, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., was found guilty of felony murder but was acquitted of the malice murder charge, according to NBC News. Bryan recorded the confrontation on his cellphone.
Arbery, a 25-year-old jogger, was chased down and killed on Feb. 23, 2020 by the men in Brunswick, Georgia. Both the McMichaels have also been indicted on three separate federal hate crime charges. The federal trial is set for February.
The case sparked national outrage and calls for justice in the small town. As the verdicts were read Wednesday afternoon, social media reaction ranged from relief to a cry for continued activism.
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted a statement shortly after the verdict: “I am grateful the jury has found the three men responsible for the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery guilty of their crimes.”
— City of Atlanta, GA (@CityofAtlanta) November 24, 2021
Rev. Al Sharpton, who was outside the courthouse with Arbery’s family tweeted: “Let the word go forth all over the world that a jury of 11 whites and one black, in the Deep South, stood up in the courtroom and said that Black lives do matter.”
Author Keith Boykin wrote on Twitter: “Remember, if local authorities in Georgia had their way, no one would have ever been charged for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. It took weeks of protest before charges were even brought in the case, 74 days after Arbery was shot and killed in February 2020.”
“This verdict upholds a sense of accountability, but not true justice,” tweeted Georgia senator and pastor Raphael Warnock. “True justice looks like a Black man not having to worry about being harmed—or killed—while on a jog, while sleeping in his bed, while living what should be a very long life.”
Viola Davis posted: “As it should be. To Wanda…Ahmaud Arbery’s mother…your son mattered. His life mattered. I pray this brings you a tiny shred of peace. To the jurors…huge gratitude for doing right. The pendulum of justice swung in the right direction!!!!!!!!”
MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted: “And a really important note: the blatantly racist tactics of the defense did not work on a nearly all-white jury. The defense chose moral violence; the jury chose to follow the law. The prosecutor in this case should receive awards.”
Watch the reading of the verdict from local Atlanta CBS station WGCL-TV below.