BRUNSWICK, Ga. — After nearly 12 hours of deliberation, a jury found Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and William ‘Roddie’ Bryan guilty of murder in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday afternoon.
Action News Jax reported in February 2020 when the 25-year-old Black man was chased by the men in vehicles through a Brunswick neighborhood and shot and killed by the younger McMichael.
Following Wednesday’s verdict, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones praised the legal team and the massive amount of supporters that had gathered outside the courthouse.
“I just want to say thank you, guys. Thank you. Thank each and every one of you who fought this fight with us. It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight. But God is good,” Cooper-Jones said.
WATCH: Ahmaud Arbery’s parents speak after McMichaels, Bryan found guilty in their son’s murder
Marcus Arbery Sr., was seen crying and hugging supporters outside the courtroom. “He didn’t do nothing,” the father said, “but run and dream.”
“The jury system works in this country, and when you present the truth to people and they see it, they will do the right thing,” Cobb County Special Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said.
WATCH: Prosecutors speak after 3 men found guilty of murder in killing of Ahmaud Arbery
Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, said his team was “disappointed with the verdict, but we respect it.” He planned to file new legal motions after Thanksgiving.
Reaction across Georgia, Florida and the nation came quickly following Wednesday’s verdict.
President Joe Biden released a statement, saying:
“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.
“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.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement, saying:
“Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of vigilantism that has no place in Georgia. As legal efforts continue to hold accountable all who may be responsible, we hope the Arbery family, the Brunswick community, our state, and those around the nation who have been following the case can now move forward down a path of healing and reconciliation.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said:
“The loss of Ahmaud Arbery was a tragedy that should have never occurred. Today’s verdict brings us one step closer to justice, healing and reconciliation for Ahmaud’s family, the community, the state and the nation.”
Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff released the following statement:
“I extend again my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Arbery family and my gratitude to the jury and court for their service.
“Ahmaud Arbery was a young man whose life was stolen from him, from his family, from the many who knew and loved him, and from the countless lives he would have touched in decades to come.
“Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers will be held accountable, but a historic civil rights mobilization was necessary for the killers to face prosecution at all. There was nearly impunity for this murder, and further investigation is necessary to determine how and why officials initially refused to pursue the case.
“The circumstances of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder and the struggle required to secure a prosecution demonstrate profoundly the urgency of reforms to make equal justice real in America.”
Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock sent a statement, saying:
“Today’s verdict upholds a sense of accountability, but not true justice.
“True justice looks like a young Black man not having to worry about being harmed—or killed—while on a jog, while sleeping in his bed, while living what should be a very long life. Ahmaud should be with us today.
“I am grateful to the jury for their service and for a verdict that says Ahmaud Arbery’s life mattered. He was a son, a nephew, a child of God and he did not deserve to die in this way.
“I will continue working and praying for true justice and for the family as they continue to grieve and begin the long and difficult journey towards healing.”
Glynn County Police Department Chief Jacques Battiste released the following statement:
“Justice has been served. We recognize that there is hurt in our community, and hearts are heavy with emotions, however we are hopeful that we will all continue to heal together. Our hope is that today’s verdict brings solace and peace to the family of Ahmaud Arbery.”
WATCH: Rev. Al Sharpton speaks after 3 men found guilty of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s killing
Florida U.S. Rep. Al Lawson released the following statement:
“I am thankful for today’s verdict. It is deeply saddening to think about this innocent life that was extinguished far too soon by cowards with racist motives and something to prove. Ahmaud Arbery was a young man who was full of great potential. My heart goes out to his parents, Wanda Cooper Jones and Marcus Arbery, who sat in the courtroom and had to listen to the details of their son’s final moments and a narrative built to vilify his character.”
“This indictment is the result of a long, difficult fight. But the victory is also a testament of what happens when the justice system gets it right and the community applies pressure. Sadly, Ahmaud is just one of many to be taken away senselessly in this nation. We must continue to hold vigilantes accountable and ensure that all Americans — regardless of race — feel safe in their communities, in their homes and in all spaces.”
Florida U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who is also running for the U.S. Senate, issued the following statement:
“This decision gives Ahmaud Arbery and his family some semblance of the justice they deserve. I am grateful to the jury who weighed the evidence in this case.
“As a former police officer and police chief, I know that we need public safety laws that empower professional police to keep us safe – that’s been my focus my entire career. What we don’t need are private citizens pursuing and violently confronting people they deem suspicious.
“Today the court has recognized that and condemned the dangerous vigilantism that erodes public safety and enables senseless confrontation and violence in our communities.
“My heart is still heavy today. This tragedy should never have happened in the first place. And my heart is with the family of Ahmaud Arbery and the entire community of Brunswick that has been torn by violence and grief.
“Our criminal justice system has spoken, and we must move forward together to hold America to its promise and create a nation with safety, liberty, and justice for all.”
Watch: Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, William ‘Roddie’ Bryan found guilty of murder of Ahmaud Arbery
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