The verdict in the controversial Ahmaud Arbery case has been passed down today on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
Three men, Gregory McMichael, 65, Travis McMichael, 35, and William Bryan Jr., 52, have been charged with malice and felony murder in the killing of Arbery which created a nationwide frenzy when the video of his shooting was made public.
Each one is facing nine charges; they have all pleaded not guilty. They also deny that the crime was racially motivated; however, his death has been referred to it as a “modern-day lynching.”
Ahmaud Arbery: All You Need To Know
Prosecutor: “Nobody said Mr. Arbery was armed. Nobody said Mr. Arbery threatened them. Nobody ever said they saw Mr. Arbery commit a crime.”- #AhmaudArbery
— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) November 23, 2021
Arbery was fatally shot on February 23, 2020, after he was confronted by Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael. It took over two months for the McMichaels to be arrested. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan who filmed the shooting, was also not arrested until later.
In the courtroom, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski argued that it was important to consider racism in this case. In the video that was shown to the jury, Gregory McMichael can be heard saying “You had no choice” while Arbery is shown lying on the ground beside them.
On November 22, the prosecution closed with the argument that the defendants had “assumed” that he had committed a crime and tried to “unlawfully detain him without legal authority.”
“You can’t create the situation and then go ‘I was defending myself’,” Dunikoski concluded.
However, the defense argued that the McMichaels had absolutely no choice but to defend themselves and that they only shot Arbery in self-defense.
In court, Travis McMichael said that “It was obvious that he was attacking me, that if he had gotten the shotgun from me, it was a life-or-death situation.”
Laura Hogue, who represented Gregory McMichael, closed by arguing McMichaels’ right to a citizen’s arrest, saying that “a good neighborhood is always policing itself” and called Arbery a “recurring night-time intruder” that refused to stop when confronted.
The Verdict Is In: All Three Men Are Found Guilty Or Not Guilty?
Don’t want to make #AhmaudArbery about race? Okay, let’s make it about gender. What if it was a woman jogging, and 3 men in a car chased her for 5 mins, demanding she stop and talk to them? Strangers who feel entitled to be spoken to. Can they shoot her when she refuses?
— Laura Coates (@thelauracoates) November 23, 2021
The trial has made headlines in recent weeks because there was only one Black male on the jury. The rest of the twelve-person jury consisted of two White men and nine White women, which made some wary of the final verdict in a case so closely tied to racism.
The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on November 19 further factored into the public’s concerns. Rittenhouse, who had been charged with five felonies, was acquitted on all charges after killing two people and injuring a third.
The jury started deliberating on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 and reached a verdict at around 1:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon.
After Travis McMichael was announced guilty of the first charge, someone whooped and was subsequently removed from the courtroom. Travis McMichael was found guilty of all nine charges.
Gregory McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of felony murder on four counts. He was also found guilty of aggravated assault on two counts. He was guilty of false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.
William Bryan was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of three counts of felony murder. He was also found guilty of false imprisonment and guilty of criminal intent to commit a felony.