Responsible for killing an unarmed black man jogging down the street in Georgia, all three men involved in fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty Wednesday of murder.
On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, when both Gregory and Travis McMichael began to follow Arbery with two firearms in their white pickup truck. As William Bryan followed them while recording a video on his cellphone, Arbery attempted to run around the truck as McMichael aimed his shotgun at him.
Despite the fact that Arbery did not commit a crime, Travis McMichael fatally shot the unarmed man three times. Travis’ father, Gregory McMichael, who was also brandishing a firearm at the scene, used to work for the Glynn County Police Department (GCPD) and as an investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
According to a memo from Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill, McMichael shot Arbery in the right hand as Arbery attempted to disarm McMichael. The second shot was reportedly fired as they struggled over the weapon. The third bullet killed Arbery, who was unarmed.
In May 2020, the McMichaels and Bryan were arrested on state charges of felony murder. In April 2021, they were each charged in federal court with one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping. Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing—and in Travis’ case, discharging—a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
On Wednesday, Travis McMichael was found guilty on all state charges, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. His father, Gregory McMichael, was found not guilty of malice murder, but the jury found him guilty on the other eight charges.
Bryan was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He 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.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, stated, “It’s been a long fight. It’s been a hard fight, but God is good… I never thought this day would come, but God is good, and I just want to tell everybody thank you, thank you for those who marched, those who prayed.”
The victim’s father, Marcus Arbery, added, “All lives matter, not just blacks. We don’t wanna see nobody go through this… It’s all our problem. So hey, let’s keep fighting. Let’s keep doing it and making this place a better place for all human beings – all human beings. Everybody. Love everybody.”
In September, former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson was indicted on one count of violation of oath of public officer and one count of obstructing a law enforcement officer. According to the indictment, Johnson violated her oath by “failing to treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity.” She also allegedly ordered GCPD officers Stephanie Oliver and Stephan Lowrey not to arrest her former investigator, Gregory McMichael, and his son while initially investigating Arbery’s death.