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President Biden: Arbery’s killing a ‘devastating reminder of how far we have to go’

Leaders react to verdict in trial over Ahmaud Arbery’s death

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A jury on Wednesday afternoon convicted the three men who were charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Those convictions of Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan came after about 10 hours of deliberations. Each face minimum sentences of life in prison, and the judge will decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.

The verdict has been met with a whirlwind of emotions from those who have been watching the case unfold. The parents of Arbery walked out of the courthouse with their hands raised high, and they were greeted by a large group of cheering supporters.

EXPLAINER: Trio guilty of killing Ahmaud Arbery. What now?

President Joe Biden issued a statement an hour or so after the verdict was reached. It reads:

“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.”

Vice President Kamala Harris released the following statement:

“Today, the jury rendered its verdicts and the three defendants were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Still, we feel the weight of grief. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive, and nothing can take away the pain that his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, his father Marcus Arbery, and the entire Arbery family and community feel today. I share in that pain.

“These verdicts send an important message, but the fact remains that we still have work to do. The defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a young Black man with racist tropes. The jury arrived at its verdicts despite these tactics.

“Ahmaud Arbery was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend. His life had meaning. We will not forget him. We honor him best by continuing the fight for justice.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also issued a statement following the verdict.

“Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of a 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 his case can now move forward down a path of healing and reconciliation.”

A statement from Chief Jacques Battiste, with the Glynn County Police Department, reads:

“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.”

A jury found three Georgia men guilty of murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man whom the trio pursued and confronted after seeing Arbery running in their neighborhood in 2020. (AP Graphic)

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident, journalist and experienced broadcast news producer with a passion for classic and exotic cars.