Ahmaud Arbery killing

Three men charged with federal hate crimes

Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, shot and killed as he ran along the street in Brunswick, Georgia in February last year

Former police officer Gregory McMichael, 64, in a booking photo after he and his son were arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery

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INVESTIGATIVE PRESS GROUP

The US justice department has indicted three men on federal hate crime charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging when he was shot and killed in Brunswick on 23 February last year. Arbery’s family characterized his death as a modern-day lynching.

Former police officer Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, were each charged on Wednesday with interference with rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels are also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

The criminal case charging the three men in connection with Arbery’s death is the most significant civil rights prosecution undertaken by the Biden administration justice department to date.

It comes as federal officials have moved quickly to open sweeping investigations into troubled police departments as civil rights takes center stage among the department’s priorities.

Arbery’s death sparked fury after his murder was caught on video and went viral on social media in May 2020, about 10 weeks after he was killed. Many expressed outrage at the time that no one had been arrested.

Later, all three men were charged in state court with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. All three pleaded not guilty. A trial date for the state charges has not yet been set.

Arbery was killed after the McMichaels followed him in their truck while he was jogging in a residential area. Gregory McMichael told police that he suspected Arbery was a burglar and had armed themselves. Bryan followed in his own vehicle and recorded video footage on his phone.

One year after his death, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, filed a lawsuit against prosecutors, law enforcement officers and the three men charged with murdering her son alleging that they engaged in a cover-up.

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