On Wednesday, April 28, a federal grand jury indicted three men on hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges for the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was fatally shot while jogging last year. Arbery’s death, which sparked a national outcry, occurred near Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, 2020. He was chased down in a truck and shot by three men: Gregory McMichael, 65; his son, Travis McMichael, 35; and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51. Gregory and Travis McMichael claimed to be conducting a citizen’s arrest and acting in self-defense, and all three defendants have pleaded not guilty to murder.
Until a trial date has been set, the defendants will be held in jail without bond.
According to NPR, attorneys representing Travis McMichael were upset “that the Justice Department bought the false narrative that the media and state prosecutors have promulgated.”
William Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, expressed his disappointment with the Justice Department’s decision, saying that, “Roddie Bryan has committed no crime. We look forward to a fair and speedy trial, and to the day when Mr. Bryan is released and reunited with his family.”
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, views the indictment as “one step closer to justice,” according to CNN. “They did the investigation properly, and they came out with those indictments. So my family and I were pleased,” she said.
Additionally, the Arbery family attorney, Ben Crump, stated that, “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.”