The three men convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting in Georgia were found guilty of federal hate crimes Tuesday for violating Arbery’s civil rights and targeting him because he was Black, the Associated Press reports. The jury delibeated for several hours on the charges against father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan. Prosecutors showed roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan used racist slurs and made derogatory comments about Blacks. The FBI wasn’t able to access Greg McMichael’s phone because it was encrypted.
The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to pursue Arbery after seeing him running in their neighborhood outside Brunswick, Ga., in February 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own pickup and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery. The killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the video leaked online two months later. Defense attorneys said the three didn’t chase and kill Arbery because of his race but acted on the erroneous, suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood.