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Civil rights activists, lawyers and politicians joined Ahmaud Arbery’s family in welcoming the guilty verdict rendered by a jury in Georgia on Wednesday.
“It was just a big day for my family,” Marcus Arbery, Ahmaud’s father, told NPR in an interview with All things Considered following the verdict. “We still have a long fight to do.”
Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer, said that while the result does bring some justice and peace to Arbery’s family, it is not cause for celebration, but for reflection.
“This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed… the violent criminal harassment and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented for a video allowing the world to witness it. Systems, we wondered if we would ever see justice “, Crump said in a statement following the verdict.
“We still have work to do,” Crump told NPR in the joint interview with Marcus, noting that this is just a victory in a criminal justice system that has produced mixed results for them. people of color.
“We don’t want to have this burden of having videos (…) Floyd.
Father and son Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan – the white men who hunted down and shot Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was jogging in their Georgia neighborhood last year – were all found guilty of murder.
The murder drew national attention to what was widely seen as another test case for racial justice. While the state trial did not include evidence supporting racial prejudice, it will be the subject of the three-man’s federal hate crimes trial slated for next year.
“Today’s verdict was a verdict based on fact. Based on evidence,” prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said at a press conference minutes after the verdict was announced.
“When you present the truth to people and they can see it, they will do the right thing,” she said. “And that’s what this jury did today to get justice for Ahmaud Arbery.”
The United States Civil Liberties Union responded to the verdict, Tweeter, “The real measure of justice is not in a verdict, but in creating a future where people do not live in fear of racial violence. We will not stop doing the hard work to achieve this future. “
Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp said “Arbery was the victim of a vigilante who has no place in Georgia,” adding that he hopes that continued legal efforts can help people “move forward on the road to healing and reconciliation.”
Vice President Kamala Harris criticized the defense team for what she described as racist tactics used during the trial.
“These verdicts send an important message, but the fact remains that we still have work to do,” she said in a statement. “The defense attorney chose to set a tone that characterized the presence of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a black youth with racist tropes,” Harris said in a statement after the verdict was delivered.
Harris’ reference to racist tropes hints at how defense attorney Laura Hogue presented Arbery in her oral argument. Hogue described him as having run around the Georgia neighborhood without “no socks to cover his long dirty fingernails.”
As for the defense, Gregory McMichael’s team expressed disappointment as the gallery exited the courtroom. The elder McMichael was convicted of eight of the nine counts, one less than his son.
“I’m floored, floored with a capital ‘F’,” said Hogue, one of Gregory McMichael’s attorneys. Frank Hogue, who also represents the elder McMichael, said lawyers plan to appeal the verdict after the conviction.