Justice has been served. A federal judge has found Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William Bryan, guilty on all counts in the killing of Ahmaud Abery. “We got justice for Ahmaud in the federal and the state,” said Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud who tragically became the victim of a hate crime that ended up costing his life, according to Good Morning America.
Per reports, the case arrived at the U.S. District Court’s desk on Monday afternoon. And the panel, which consists of predominantly white people, reached its decision on the eve of the second anniversary of Arbery’s slaying in the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia. “Ahmaud will continue to rest in peace but he will now rest in power,” noted his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, as the verdict came a day before her son’s second death anniversary.
The jury, which reportedly consisted of three Black, one Hispanic, and eight white people, reached its decision after deliberating for less than four hours. They also found Travis McMichael, 36, guilty of discharging a firearm relating to a crime of violence. “It’s another milestone, another challenge that we’ve overcome. Today is Super Tuesday. We got a guilty verdict on all charges for all murderers,” added Cooper-Jones.
The Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (B.L.A.C.C.) powered by AHF applauds the guilty verdict of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Though the outcome of this murder and hate crime is a step in the right direction, we can't be complacent. #StandAgainstHate https://t.co/kgJx7qsUGP
— BLACC (@AHF_BLACC) February 23, 2022
Despite the latest victory, Cooper-Jones cannot stop hurting. The devastated mother said she “will never heal” from the death of her dear son Ahmaud. “They gave us a sense of a small victory. We as a family will never get victory because Ahmaud is gone forever,” she expressed according to CBS News. At the beginning of this trial, the Department of Justice had reached a plea deal with the three men. This move was heavily criticized by Cooper-Jones who is glad that the judge on the case ultimately refused to accept the plea deals.
“I’m very thankful that you guys brought these charges of hate crime, but back on Jan. 31, you guys accepted a plea deal with these three murderers who took my son’s life,” she said. “I spoke to Kristen Clarke and the lead attorney Tara Lyons, begging them to please not take this plea deal. They ignored my cry. I begged them. Even after the family stood before the judge and asked them not to take this plea deal, the lead prosecutor stood up and asked the judge to ignore the family’s cry. That’s not justice for Ahmaud.” McMichaels and Bryan, the now-convicted murderers, were not charged immediately by the police despite fatally shooting the Black jogger on Feb. 23, 2020.
Following the jury’s decision, Attorney General Merrick Garland assured that the Department of Justice will never hesitate to prosecute individuals who “commit violent acts that are motivated by bias or hate.” He added, “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.”
“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. Ahmad Arbery should be alive today.”
Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | ABC7