Three men have been indicted on federal hate crimes charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was chased and fatally shot in February 2020 while out jogging in southeast Georgia the Justice Department said Wednesday, reports the Wall Street Journal.
A federal grand jury indicted Gregory McMichael, who is 65 years old, his son, Travis McMichael, 35, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 51, in connection with the killing, which sparked a nationwide outcry after a video of the shooting spread online months later. The men, who are White, have also been charged at the state level with murder and other crimes. They have pleaded not guilty to those charges.
The five-count federal indictment says the men acted “because of Mr. Arbery’s race and color.” Mr. Arbery’s killing fueled nationwide protests over racial injustice. The federal case represents a significant hate-crimes prosecution by the Biden Justice Department, which has said it would make such investigations a priority as part of a renewed emphasis on enforcement of civil-rights law.
Arbery was jogging on a residential street when the father and son, armed with guns, got into a truck and chased him through the neighborhood while yelling at him, cutting him off on his route and threatening him, the Justice Department said. Bryan, who filmed the confrontation, joined in the chase and used his truck to cut off Arbery, the department said.