U.S. Vice President kemala D. Harris on Wednesday praised the guilty verdicts in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery but added that “we still have work to do” in the fight for racial justice and equality in America.
“Today, the jury rendered its verdicts and the three defendants were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Still, we feel the weight of grief. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive, and nothing can take away the pain that his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, his father Marcus Arbery, and the entire Arbery family and community feel today. I share in that pain,” Harris wrote in a statement. “These verdicts send an important message, but the fact remains that we still have work to do. The defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a young Black man with racist tropes. The jury arrived at its verdicts despite these tactics. Ahmaud Arbery was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend. His life had meaning. We will not forget him. We honor him best by continuing the fight for justice.”
Three White men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, were found guilty on multiple murder counts on Wednesday.
The jury, made up of nine White men, two White women and one Black man, reached the guilty verdicts after 11 hours of deliberation spanning two days, following eight days of testimony and 23 witnesses.
Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. all faced the same nine counts.Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Arbery, was found guilty on all charges: malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony, while his father, Gregory McMichael, who rode armed in the bed of a pickup truck as his son pursued Arbery, was not guilty of malice murder but guilty on the other eight charges.
William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., a neighbor who joined the pursuit and filmed Arbery’s final moments, was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. Bryan was cleared on the charge of malice murder, felony murder involving aggravated assault with a firearm and the count of aggravated assault with a firearm.President Joseph R. Biden Jr. praised the guilty verdict in a statement but added that much more needed to be done for racial justice in America.
“Ahmaud Arbery’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country. Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery. Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished,” President Biden said. “While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin. My administration will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans.”