Three men found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery

A US grand jury has found three white men guilty of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot while jogging in Georgia last year in an incident that prompted protests. for racial justice across the United States.

Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, as well as their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, were found guilty of murder and other crimes on Wednesday. The incident gained widespread media attention last year after a video of the shooting went viral online, sparking outrage.

The ruling was made a few days after acquit Kyle Rittenhouse, a white teenager killed two men during civil unrest in Wisconsin last year following the shooting of another black man, Jacob Blake.

The cases expose deep fissures in a country grappling with intense debates over race and justice more than a year after George Floyd was killed. In an indictment published in April, the US justice department alleges that McMichaels and Bryan threatened Arbery because of his “race and color.”

The three men face charges including false imprisonment, malicious murder, aggravated assault and felony murder, which carry a minimum penalty of life in prison.

The men pleaded not guilty to all charges. Travis McMichael was found guilty of all counts, including one count of malicious murder and four counts of felony murder. His father, Gregory, was found guilty of four counts of murder but acquitted of malicious murder. Bryan was convicted of three counts of murder, but acquitted of malicious murder and another count of murder.

McMichaels argued they were arresting a citizen after suspecting that Arbery had robbed a home in their coastal Georgia area, while Travis McMichael said he shot Arbery in self-defense.

Prosecutors countered that Arbery was unarmed and that the legal criteria for arresting a citizen had not been met. They also note that the murder occurred after three men chased Arbery with trucks and guns.

President Joe Biden in a statement said: “Ahmaud Arbery’s murder – witnessed by the whole world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we must go in the fight for justice. by race in this country. . . Nothing can bring Arbery back to his family and community, but the sentence ensures that the perpetrators of this heinous crime will be punished.”

Federal authorities have separately charged the three men with hate crimes and attempted kidnapping in connection with Arbery’s murder, which took place last February.

Arbery’s death, along with the deaths of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, sparked widespread protests in the US last year and increased scrutiny of law enforcement.

The case took place parallel to the trial of Rittenhouse, causing public opinion to be sharply divided. The 18-year-old was driving to Kenosha, a city on Lake Michigan, from neighboring Illinois after a police officer shot Jacob Blake, paralyzing him and sparking civil unrest. Rusten Sheskey, the officer who shot Blake, has not been charged.

Rittenhouse testified during the trial that he was there for property protection and first aid, saying he carried an assault-style rifle to protect himself. He shot three men, killing two and injuring a third while confronting a mob.

Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators applauded the 18-year-old’s acquittal, seeing the result as vindication of Americans’ Second Amendment rights under the US constitution. allow people to “keep and bear arms”. The judge in the Rittenhouse case dismissed the gun charge shortly before the trial ended.

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