After a “long fight” and last year’s summer of racial justice protests, Ahmaud Arbery’s family praised a jury’s decision to find three men guilty in the 25-year-killing, old’s saying the justice system had prevailed. “It’s been a long fight, it’s been a hard fight, but God is good,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told reporters shortly after the verdict Wednesday. “To tell you the truth, back in 2020, I never saw this day.” “I never imagined this day would come,” she said. “I simply want to express my gratitude to everyone.” “Thank you to those who marched and prayed,” Arbery’s father said, adding that society needed to unite to “fight” racially driven hate crimes. “I don’t want to see any father see their kid get lynched and shot down like that,” Marcus Arbery Sr. said.
“So it’s all our fault… let’s keep fighting, let’s keep doing and making this country a better place for all human beings,” they said shortly after three white men were convicted of murdering Arbery, a Black man, while jogging through a Georgia neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. The males, who were driving two pickup trucks, pursued him down and cornered him with their vehicles, then got into a fight with him. Arbery was killed when one of the men discharged a gun. The men then stated that they pursued Arbery because they suspected him of being involved in a series of thefts in the neighborhood.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, is hugged by a supporter in Brunswick, Georgia, after a jury convicted Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan of murder.Stephen B. Morton-Pool/Getty ImagesThe men, Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William ” The three have also been charged with federal hate crime charges, for which they will stand trial next year. The jury, which consisted of 11 white jurors and one Black juror, rejected defense attorneys’ claim of self-defense, saying the men had no cause to believe Arbery was a threat to them.
Senators and political figures backed the decision, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. “Ahmaud Arbery was a young man whose life was stolen from him, from his family, from the many who knew and loved him,” said Rep. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), praising activists and civil rights leaders who drew national attention to the case, but adding that Arbery’s murder demonstrated “profoundly the urgency of reforms to make equal justice real in America.” “The killers of Ahmaud Arbery will be brought to justice, but it will take a historic civil rights movement to bring them to justice at all.”