Story at a glance

  • A federal grand jury has delivered hate crime charges against three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was jogging through a neighborhood in Georgia in February 2020.
  • Travis and Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, were each charged with a count of interference of rights and attempting kidnapping.
  • The McMichael’s received additional charges of using, carrying and brandishing a weapon in a violent crime.

A federal grand jury has delivered hate crime charges against three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was jogging through a neighborhood in Georgia in February 2020.

Travis and Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, were each charged with a count of interference of rights and attempting kidnapping, ABC News reported. The McMichael’s received additional charges of using, carrying and brandishing a weapon in a violent crime.

The men also face charges of murder, malice, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony — all three pleaded not guilty to the charges.


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Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told CNN following the new hate crime charges they were “one step closer to justice.” 

"They did the investigation properly and they came out with those indictments. So, my family and I were pleased,” Cooper-Jones said. 

Attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright and George Floyd, said in a statement that the charges reflect another step toward racial justice in the U.S, ABC reported. 

"This is an important milestone in America's uphill march toward racial justice, and we applaud the Justice Department for treating this heinous act for what it is -- a purely evil, racially motivated hate crime," Crump said.

The McMichael’s say they saw Arbery jogging through a neighborhood and assumed he was responsible for a string of “break-ins.” They proceeded to pursue the 25-year-old in their truck before the violent confrontation. Bryan recorded the incident, showing the ambush, which resulted in Arbery’s murder. 

Charges were not delivered until 10 weeks after the killing when a video emerged. 

ABC reported that Travis McMichael’s attorney expressed disappointment in the addition of hate crimes to the previous charges in a statement, claiming it brings in a “false narrative” into the case. 

"There is absolutely nothing in the indictment that identifies how this is a federal hate crime and it ignores without apology that Georgia law allows a citizen to detain a person who was committing burglaries until police arrive," Rubin said in a statement.

Meanwhile, an attorney for Bryan maintains his client’s innocence, saying Bryan was simply a witness to the crime, Reuters reported.

“Roddie Bryan has committed no crime. We look forward to a fair and speedy trial, and to the day Mr. Bryan is released and reunited with his family.”


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Published on Apr 29, 2021