Ahmaud Arbery’s family, others react to guilty verdicts – Everett Post

(NEW YORK) – A chant from “Ahmaud Arbery” broke out outside the Georgia courtroom where three men were found guilty of his murder on Wednesday after a week-long, closely watched trial.

“It was a long fight, it was an uphill battle, but God is good,” said Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, during a press conference following the verdict, almost two years after the 25-year-old black man was ruled in February 2020 Fatally jogging shot. “To tell the truth, in 2020 I never thought that day would come, but God is good.”

Her son “will now rest in peace,” she added.

“Today is a good day,” said his father, Marcus Arbery, to the crowd that had gathered outside.

Rev. Al Sharpton, who supported the family throughout the trial, said the verdict was historic.

“Let the news get around the world that a jury of 11 whites and one black in the deep south stood up in the courtroom and said that black lives matter,” he said during the briefing.

Arbery’s family attorney Ben Crump said the moment was “not a celebration” but a “reflection”.

“The spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob,” he urged the crowd to cheer.

The Cobb County Attorney’s Office has been pursuing the case. Latonia Hines, assistant prosecutor for the office, thanked the family for “trusting” them to bring justice for Arbery.

“It’s been a long road and we’re so happy that we can be here at this end of the road,” Hines said during the briefing. “We commend the courage and bravery of this jury in saying that what happened to Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, 2020, the hunt and killing of Ahmaud Arbery, was not only morally wrong, but also legally wrong, and we’re grateful for that. “

Linda Dunikoski, the chief prosecutor, said the verdict proves that the jury system works.

“Today’s verdict was a judgment based on fact and evidence, and that was our goal to bring it to this jury for them to do the right thing,” she told the crowd. “If you present the truth to people and they can see it, they will do the right thing. And that’s exactly what this jury did today to bring justice to Ahmaud Arbery. “

Defense wants to appeal

Following the verdicts, attorneys said they would appeal to Gregory McMichael, who was not found guilty of premeditated murder but was convicted on the remaining charges, including the murder cases. Laura Hogue said in the courtroom that she was “very disappointed”. Frank Hogue said they will appeal – a process that can begin once the conviction is passed.

Gregory McMichael’s son Travis McMichael, who fatally shot and killed Arbery, was convicted on all nine counts, including premeditated murder and quadruple homicide. His attorneys Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield also announced they would appeal.

“This is a very difficult day for Travis McMichael and Greg McMichael,” Sheffield told reporters. “These are two men who honestly believe that what they did was right. However, the Glynn County jury has spoken, they found them guilty and they are being sentenced. “

McMichael’s neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 53, who taped the incident on a cellphone, has been convicted of three counts of murder and one charge of criminal intent to commit a crime. His attorney Kevin Gough told reporters he was apparently “very disappointed” with the verdict.

“But we have to respect this judgment. This is the American way, ”he said.

He said he plans to file a new trial on Bryan’s behalf next week.

Defense lawyers had argued that Arbery was shot in self-defense when he resisted the arrest of a citizen. Prosecutors, meanwhile, alleged that the accused persecuted and murdered Arbery for making false “assumptions and entry decisions” that the Black Man who was walking through their neighborhood in Satilla Shores had committed a break-in.

In response to the jury’s decision, President Joe Biden said Arbery “should be here today” and that “the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrific crime are punished.”

“The guilty verdicts reflect that our judicial system is doing its job, but that alone is not enough. Instead, we must re-commit to building a future of unity and shared strength where no one fears violence because of their skin color, ”he said in a statement.

Vice President Kamala Harris also released a statement saying the verdicts “send an important message” but there is “still work to be done”.

She also criticized the defense attorney, saying they had “chosen a tone that interprets ministers’ participation in the process as intimidation and dehumanizes a young black man with racist tropes,” added that despite these tactics, the jury was still delivering those verdicts .

Georgia’s leaders also responded to support the jury’s decision.

“Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of vigilante justice that has no place in Georgia,” Governor Brian Kemp said in a statement on Twitter. “As the legal efforts continue to hold all those responsible to account, we hope that the Arbery family, the Braunschweig community, our state and those across the country who followed his case can now embark on a path of healing and reconciliation. ”

Georgia Attorney General Chriss Carr said the ruling “brings us one step closer to justice, healing and reconciliation for Ahmaud’s family, community, state and nation.”

Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Said the verdict “maintains a sense of accountability but not true justice.”

“True justice looks like a black man who doesn’t have to worry about getting hurt – or killed – while jogging, sleeping in his bed, while living a very long life,” he said in a statement. “Ahmaud should be with us today.”

Rep. Nikema Williams, leader of the Georgia Democratic Party, said in a statement that the rulings mean that “we must redouble our efforts to fight hatred and we will not stop until an American’s life is interrupted because of bigotry or recklessness will”. Alertness.”

“I pray for the Arbery family, who continue to mourn their insurmountable loss, for Braunschweig while the congregation works on the healing, and for the country as we continue on the path to justice,” she continued.

More reaction

Political leaders and civil rights organizations also supported the ruling, but acknowledged that more needs to be done about what was termed “racist bourgeois vigilantes” by Chairwoman of the Black Caucus of Congress, Joyce Beatty.

“The Congressional Black Caucus will continue to advocate reform of criminal justice and gun control measures with common sense, as civil justice has no place in our society. Our thoughts and prayers stay with Mr. Arbery’s family and loved ones, ”Beatty said in a statement.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said this was “an important moment of accountability and justice”.

“The men who murdered Mr. Arbery were tried and found guilty of the crime, which sent a powerful message in Georgia and the United States that racist violence – especially that committed under the false guise of vigilance – is unacceptable, “he said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union called for “meaningful systemic transformation”.

“Across the country we see local and grassroots organizations leading the fight for this transformation,” the organization said on Twitter. “Together with them, we envision a future in which blacks can thrive without police violence or vigilance. The true measure of justice does not lie in judgment, but in building a future in which people are not afraid of racist violence. We will not stop doing the long hard work for this future. “

Despite the ruling, the case leaves “a deep and painful wound in the soul of our nation,” the National Urban League said in a statement.

“Thanks to faithful prayer and competent prosecution, we are relieved to know that the jury saw the truth and brought these murderers to justice for the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery,” the statement said. “Still, we need to look closely at what happened in this case to ensure that racially motivated vigilante violence is never again condoned or tolerated.”

Check out the full story of the Ahmaud Arbery case and trial on Friday “20/20” at 9:00 PM ET

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