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Tag: ahmaud arbery

Killers Of Ahmaud Arbery Get Life Without Parole

The three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery Feb. 2020 as the 25-year-old was jogging through Brunswick, Georgia, all faced the death penalty. In a sentencing hearing on Friday, Travis McMichael, and his father, Gregory McMichael, instead will be serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, will serve a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty and Arbery’s family wanted the men to face life imprisonment. Judge Timothy Walmsley honored those requests. Prior to imposing those sentences, Walmsley led a minute-long moment of silence to illustrate just how swiftly Arbery was gunned down.

“The chase that occurred in Satilla Shores occurred over about a five-minute period. And when I thought about this, I thought from a lot of different angles and I kept coming back to the terror of [Arbery],” Walmsley said. He also quoted the defendants’ abhorrent words about Arbery in which they called him an asshole and threatened to kill him, which they ultimately ended up doing. Walmsley described Arbery as being “hunted down and shot” by the men. “And he was killed because individuals in this courtroom took the law into their own hands,” Walmsley added. The judge also quoted Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, who read a victim impact statement earlier during the proceedings.

Travis, who shot and killed Arbery, was found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony, and one count of false imprisonment. He will be serving a sentence of life without parole plus 20 consecutive years. Greg was found guilty of four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment, and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was found not guilty of malice murder. He will be serving a life sentence without parole plus 20 consecutive years.

Bryan was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of felony assault, one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony, and one count of false imprisonment. He was found not guilty of malice murder, one count of felony murder, and one count of aggravated assault. He has been sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

During the sentencing hearing, Arbery’s family was able to give victim impact statements and the court was also able to hear from character witnesses who support the McMichaels and Bryan. Arbery’s mother, father, and sister all made powerful statements in support of sentencing the three men to life without parole. Marcus Arbery began addressing the court by acknowledging the unfairness of Travis and Gregory being able to sit next to each other as son and father during court proceedings, while Marcus will never get that chance to sit next to Ahmaud ever again. Marcus also addressed the situation surrounding Ahmaud’s murder.

“Not only did they lynch my son in broad daylight, but they killed him while he was doing what he loved more than anything: running. That’s when he felt most alive, most free, and they took all that from him,” Marcus said. “If I could, I would trade places with Ahmaud in a heartbeat, but I can’t, so I’m standing here today to do what he can’t. And that is to fight for him, fight for his memory, his legacy, and to tell you who he was.” Ahmaud’s sister, Jasmine Arbery, did just that in her statement.

“Ahmaud had dark skin that glistened in the sunlight like gold. He had thick, coily hair; he would often like to twist it. Ahmaud had a broad nose and the color of his eyes were riddled with melanin. He was tall with an athletic build. He enjoyed running and had an appreciation for being outdoors,” Jasmine said. “These are the qualities that made these men assume that Ahmaud was a dangerous criminal and chase him with guns drawn. To me, those qualities reflect a young man full of life and energy who looked like me and the people I love.”

“Ahmaud was funny,” Jasmine continued. “He told jokes to lighten the mood because he was a positive thinker. Ahmaud had a big personality and never missed an opportunity to let it shine. Ahmaud had a future that was taken from him… he was robbed of life’s pleasures big and small. He will never be able to fulfill his professional dreams nor will he be able to start a family or be in my daughter’s life.”

Finally, Cooper-Jones spoke before the courtroom. She chose to first address the son she had lost. “This verdict doesn’t bring you back but it does help bring closure to this very difficult chapter in my life. I made a promise to you. Today I laid you to rest. I told you I loved you and someday, somehow, I would get you justice,” Cooper-Jones said. “Son, I love you as much today as I did the day that you were born. Raising you was the honor of my life and I’m very proud of you.”

“My youngest son, he was born on Mother’s Day of 1994,” Cooper-Jones continued. “He had a smile so bright it lit up a room. He was a greedy baby that seemed like he was always searching for something to stick into his mouth. He was always a loving baby who seemed to never tire of hugs, cuddling, and kisses. He loved. He never hesitated to tell me, his sister Jasmine, and his brother Marcus that he loved us. And, your honor, we loved him back. He was messy. He sometimes refused to wear socks or take good care of his good clothing. I wish he would have cut and cleaned his toenails before he went out for that jog that day. I guess he would have if he knew he would be murdered. My family’s going to miss Ahmaud. We’re going to miss his jokes, his impersonations, his warm smile. These men deserve the maximum sentence for their crimes. Ahmaud never said a word to them. He never threatened them. He just wanted to be left alone. They were fully committed to their crimes. Let them be fully committed for their consequences.”

All three white men are facing federal hate crime charges for taking Arbery’s life and menacing the Black man. A separate federal trial is scheduled to begin on February 7. The men each face one count of interference with rights and one count of attempted kidnapping. Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count of carrying and brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. Travis’ firearm charge includes the fact that he discharged his weapon.

Arbery’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, which were only discovered after criminal defense attorney Alan Tucker leaked footage of the crimes, has drastically changed how Georgia approaches cases like these. The state finally passed a hate crime bill that allows for additional sentencing options if defendants are convicted of a crime targeting a victim because of their “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability.”

Article reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Arbery Verdict Warns Racist Killers: 'Lynching Will Be Punished'

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

On Wednesday, November 24 — the day before Thanksgiving 2021 — a verdict was handed down in the trial of the three Georgia men involved in the murder and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery. Travis McMichael, who shot and killed the unarmed Arbery at point-blank range, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan were all found guilty of murder as well as aggravated assault and false imprisonment. Liberal Washington Post opinion writer Eugene Robinson applauds this verdict in a November 24 column, stressing that it sends out a vitally important message that lynching "will be punished."

The 25-year-old Arbery was out jogging in Glynn County, Georgia on February 23, 2020 when the men chased after him. Arbery was minding his own business and doing nothing wrong. The defendants claimed that they went after him because they suspected him of burglary, but there was absolutely no evidence of that — and when Travis McMichael fatally shot Arbery, the unarmed man had no way of defending himself.

Robinson, a frequent guest on MSNBC, continues, "It took just 11 hours of deliberation for the almost all-White jury to find the three White defendants guilty of lynching a Black man. Maybe there's a glimmer of hope for justice in these United States after all."

The columnist adds, however, that while he is "relieved and encouraged by the way this horrible episode has ended," it "would be wrong to forget the shockingly retrograde events that started it all."

The important message that came from a predominantly white jury, according to Robinson, is: "If white men chase an unarmed Black man down and lynch him, they will be punished."

"That should be an unremarkable statement," Robinson writes. "And we should not have to feel so relieved to see it affirmed."

Trial Of Three White Men For Ahmaud Arbery Shooting Begins Today

Washington (AFP) - Three white men in the US state of Georgia will go on trial Monday in the high-profile shooting death of a Black jogger that sparked a national outcry and helped fuel last summer's social justice protests.

Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis, 35, and their neighbor William Bryan, 52, have been charged with murder and aggravated assault after chasing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery and shooting him during a confrontation in February 2020.

The father and son followed Arbery in a pickup truck, while Bryan trailed them in his own vehicle and filmed the scene. After an altercation, Travis McMichael opened fire and killed Arbery.

The three men contend that they mistook the jogger for a burglar active in the area and invoked a Georgia law allowing ordinary citizens to make arrests.

Local prosecutors, for whom Gregory McMichael, a retired police officer, had worked for a long time, did not make any arrests in the case for nearly three months.

It was only after the video of the shooting was leaked online and shared widely on social media that the case was transferred to state police and the three suspects were arrested and charged.

The death of George Floyd two weeks later under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis reignited a national debate on racial justice and police violence against Black Americans, and Arbery became one of the symbols of the Black Lives Matter national protests that ensued.

"A Black man should be able to jog without fearing for his life," President Joe Biden tweeted on the anniversary of Arbery's death.

'Lynching'

Jury selection is expected to last several days, given the intense media scrutiny of the case.

The defendants are then expected to plead self-defense, arguing that Arbery was resisting lawful arrest.

Prosecutors will insist that the victim was unarmed and that nothing links him to a series of burglaries that took place in the neighborhood where he was jogging.

Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented a number of African American families in high-profile police violence cases, said he hopes the court "will see through this tactic and deliver Ahmaud and his family justice."

"If these killers get off without consequence, that sends the message that lynching Black men in 2021 carries no penalty."

Since Arbery's death, Georgia has passed a law that imposes additional penalties for crimes motivated by hatred toward a victim's race, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics.

Arbery's mother has filed a separate civil lawsuit demanding $1 million in compensation from the McMichaels and Bryan, but also from local authorities accused of trying to cover up the case.

One of the local prosecutors, Jackie Johnson, was indicted last month for violating her oath of office and allegedly hindering the investigation into Arbery's death.

The three defendants also face separate federal hate crime charges and a trial is set for February.

Three Men Indicted In Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Three white men linked to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery were indicted on murder charges Wednesday after allegations of prosecutorial misconduct significantly delayed accountability in the case. Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, who is the fourth prosecutor assigned to the case, announced online Wednesday that Glynn County's Grand Jury has indicted former Georgia cop Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and the man who filmed parts of the deadly encounter, William Bryan.

Along with the malice murder charge, they face four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. "This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud," Holmes said.

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Will Arbery’s Killers Get Away With A Lynching?

The video clip is a mere 36 seconds, but it is shocking, explicit, sickening. And because it has gone viral -- prompting national outrage -- two white men have finally been arrested and charged in the death of a black jogger in southeast Georgia in February.

That hardly means that the family of Ahmaud Arbery will get justice, that his killers will pay for their crime. Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, have been charged with murder and aggravated assault, but they must still be tried and convicted. The outcome is uncertain. The quest for a righteous outcome has staggered this far along only because of the emergence of that appalling few seconds of video.

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