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Three men convicted of hate crimes in Ahmaud Arbery murder

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The three men convicted of murder last November in the February 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty on additional hate crimes charges. Tuesday’s guilty verdict for Travis McMichael, his father Greg and their neighbor William “Roddie” Brown wrapped up a week-long federal trial. In addition to being found guilty of violating Arbery’s civil rights and targeting him because he was Black, the three were convicted of attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

“They [federal prosecutors] stood up for Ahmaud, to say that Ahmaud’s life mattered,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday. “That Ahmaud will never be forgotten. That Ahmaud Arbery will be in the history books, not only for the state of Georgia, but for the United States of America.”

The hate crimes charge carried a maximum sentence of life in prison. Tuesday’s conviction was more of a symbolic one, with the McMichaels already facing life in prison without the chance for parole, and Brown facing life in prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years.

However, the Arbery family and supporters said the hate crimes trial was important to establish that racism motivated his murder. During the trial, prosecutors showed roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan used racist slurs and made derogatory comments about Black people.

“No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate fueled violence,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a Tuesday news conference. The video above include clips from the news conference. “No one should fear that if they go out for a run, they will be targeted and killed because of the color of their skin.”

While they celebrated victory, supporters for Arbery also called out the Justice Department Tuesday. DOJ prosecutors had actually reached a plea deal with the McMichaels and Brown that would’ve avoided the hate crimes trial altogether. However, a judge rejected the deal in a rare move last month after the Arbery family asked her not to accept it.

“Even after the family stood before the judge and asked them, asked the judge to not take this plea deal, the lead prosecutor, Tara Lyons, stood up and asked the judge to ignore the family’s cry,” said. “That’s not – that’s not justice for Ahmaud. What we got today, we wouldn’t have gotten today if it wasn’t for the fight that the family put up.”

Merrick Garland, Attorney General: “This morning, three defendants were convicted of committing federal hate crimes in connection with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. On February 23rd, 2020 Mr. Arbery was targeted, chased, shot and killed while running on a public street. Today, a jury of the defendant’s peers unanimously found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants acted because Mr. Arbery was Black.”

“The defendant’s actions, and the racism that fueled them have inflicted enduring trauma on Mr. Arbery’s family, his friends, his community and communities across the country. My heart goes out to his parents, Ms. Wanda Cooper Jones and Mr. Marcus Arbery, Sr. for the unimaginable loss they have endured.”

“I cannot imagine the pain that a mother feels to have her son run down and then gunned down while taking a jog on a public street. My heart goes out to her and to the family. That’s really all I can say about this.”

“Throughout our history and to this day, hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear that they inflict on entire communities.”

“No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate fueled violence. No one should fear being attacked or threatened because of what they look like, where they are, from, whom they love or how they worship. And no one should fear that if they go out for a run, they will be targeted and killed because of the color of their skin.”

“The Justice Department has a legal obligation to prosecute hate crimes. And as Americans, all of us have a moral obligation to combat the hatred and bigotry that motivates those crimes.”

“Although we welcome the jury’s verdict, the only acceptable outcome in this matter would have been Mr. Arbery returning safely to his loved ones two years ago. His family and his friends should be preparing to celebrate his 28th birthday later this spring, not mourning the second anniversary of his death tomorrow.”

The three men convicted of murder last November in the February 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty on additional hate crimes charges. Tuesday’s guilty verdict for Travis McMichael, his father Greg and their neighbor William “Roddie” Brown wrapped up a week-long federal trial. In addition to being found guilty of violating Arbery’s civil rights and targeting him because he was Black, the three were convicted of attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

“They [federal prosecutors] stood up for Ahmaud, to say that Ahmaud’s life mattered,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday. “That Ahmaud will never be forgotten. That Ahmaud Arbery will be in the history books, not only for the state of Georgia, but for the United States of America.”

The hate crimes charge carried a maximum sentence of life in prison. Tuesday’s conviction was more of a symbolic one, with the McMichaels already facing life in prison without the chance for parole, and Brown facing life in prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years.

However, the Arbery family and supporters said the hate crimes trial was important to establish that racism motivated his murder. During the trial, prosecutors showed roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan used racist slurs and made derogatory comments about Black people.

“No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate fueled violence,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a Tuesday news conference. The video above include clips from the news conference. “No one should fear that if they go out for a run, they will be targeted and killed because of the color of their skin.”

While they celebrated victory, supporters for Arbery also called out the Justice Department Tuesday. DOJ prosecutors had actually reached a plea deal with the McMichaels and Brown that would’ve avoided the hate crimes trial altogether. However, a judge rejected the deal in a rare move last month after the Arbery family asked her not to accept it.

“Even after the family stood before the judge and asked them, asked the judge to not take this plea deal, the lead prosecutor, Tara Lyons, stood up and asked the judge to ignore the family’s cry,” said. “That’s not – that’s not justice for Ahmaud. What we got today, we wouldn’t have gotten today if it wasn’t for the fight that the family put up.”

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