Ahmaud Arbery’s family praised a jury’s decision to find three men guilty in the 25-year-old’s killing, saying the justice system had prevailed after a “hard fight” and last year’s summer of racial justice protests.
“It’s been a long fight, it’s been a hard fight, but God is good,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told reporters shortly after the verdict Wednesday. “Early in, to tell you the truth, I never saw this day back in 2020. I never thought this day would come.”
“I just want to tell everybody thank you,” she added. “Thank you for those who marched, those who prayed.”
Arbery’s father said the verdict made it a “good day,” adding that society needed to band together to “conquer” racially motivated hate crimes.
“I don’t want to see no daddy watch their kid get lynched and shot down like that,” Marcus Arbery Sr. said. “So it’s all our problem … let’s keep fighting, let’s keep doing and making this place a better place for all human beings.”
The comments were made shortly after Arbery, an African-American man was run through a Georgia neighborhood by three white men on February 23, 2020. He was chased by two men driving pickup trucks. They then cornered him, and got into an altercation. Arbery was shot and killed by one of the men. They later said that Arbery was a suspect in a series of thefts from the area.
The men, Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, all face sentences of up to life in prison. They will also be tried next year on federal hate crimes charges.
The jury — 11 white jurors and one Black juror — rejected defense attorneys’ argument of self-defense and said the men had no reason to believe Arbery posed a threat to them.
The verdict was retracted support from lawmakers and political leadersIncludes President Joe Biden as well as Vice President Kamala Harris.
Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) praised activists and civil rights leaders who drew national interest to the case but added that Arbery’s murder showed “profoundly the urgency of reforms to make equal justice real in America.”
“Ahmaud Arbery was a young man whose life was stolen from him, from his family, from the many who knew and loved him,” Ossoff saidIn a statement. “Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers will be held accountable, but a historic civil rights mobilization was necessary for the killers to face prosecution at all.”