Hate crime trial begins for murderers of Ahmaud Arbery


Jud McCranie

A mural of Ahmaud Arbery sits on display in Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery was killed while jogging. His murderers have been found guilty, and are currently undergoing a federal hate crime trial.

Maia Echols, Staff Reporter

On Feb. 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery went for a run in one the neighborhood of Satilla Shores, Georgia when three men, Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis, and William Bryan, committed what is being referred to as a “modern-day lynching” in broad daylight, Vox noted.

All three men pleaded not guilty. However, the jury found them guilty in Nov. 2020 of felony murder and other charges that were in relation to the death of Arbery, according to NPR. In a separate murder trial, all three men were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

At the time of publication, jury selection for a federal hate crime case deciding whether this attack was racially motivated has begun. 30 potential jurors have been selected for this process and for further questioning. Reports state that the evidence, in this case, is not so straightforward, CNN wrote. Not only are they facing counts of murder, but the McMichaels are also facing charges for carrying a gun during a crime of violence.

With the Civil Rights Act of 1968, one would assume that a case like this would be easy to convict. However, proving that the crime was racially motivated is an issue in itself. Margaret Farrar, professor of political science, said “The federal trial charging these men with hate crimes is important because, by definition, racial hate crimes don’t only affect those directly victimized but entire communities who are made to feel unsafe on the basis of their skin color. Racism and race-based violence are absolutely incompatible with a diverse, pluralist democracy like the United States.”