Three men are charged with the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery for hate crimes that helped spark protests against racism.
Three white men in the state of Georgia pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in connection with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was shot and killed while jogging last year.
Arbery was running through a coastal community in South Georgia outside the city of Brunswick in February 2020 when three men, Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan chased and killed him.
The men later told the police they thought he was a burglar and were trying to arrest a citizen.
However, authorities in the United States have alleged that Travis McMichael had previously sent racist messages to further investigate the role of racism in the killing. Last month, the US Department of Justice brought hate crimes and tried to bring charges against the men.
Each of the three confessed not guilty to a testimony on Tuesday in front of federal judge Benjamin W. Cheesbro before the US district court in Braunschweig.
The US authorities have alleged that Travis McMichael previously sent racist messages [File: Glynn County Police via AP Photo]The McMichaels and Bryan are already charged with murder, aggravated assault, wrongful imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a crime.
Ahmaud’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., told reporters Tuesday that he was pleased with the charges.
He welcomed the federal investigation, saying it was “a great relief to our family because we know it [we are close to] Getting justice for my son ”.
Civil rights activists have accused U.S. authorities of being slow to seek justice in this case, given that no arrests were made 10 weeks after the incident and only after video footage of the shootings posted on social media sparked public outrage.
Arbery’s death sparked a call for justice in the weeks leading up to George Floyd’s death by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25 last year.
Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud’s father, is grateful for the hate crime charge against the men accused of killing his son. @ FCN2go pic.twitter.com/lO9K1bBCMA
– Troy Kless (@TroyKless) May 11, 2021
The deaths of the two unarmed black men as well as that of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, drove the demands for justice in the USA to an international movement against police brutality and racism.
Chauvin, who held his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was convicted of accidental murder and manslaughter in a widespread Minneapolis trial that concluded last month.
Chauvin’s belief has given hope to activists and politicians who want to see police reform. His sentencing is scheduled for June.
However, the former officer’s attorney, Eric Nelson, has filed a new lawsuit citing alleged misconduct by prosecutors and jurors, including a juror who did not reveal that he had traveled to Washington DC after Floyd’s death, to attend a rally on Black Lives Matter.
A woman walks past a plywood wall with the names of black bullets victims, including Ahmaud Arbery [Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters]