People have a lot of thoughts on what real justice would look like.
Nearly two years after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery by Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan, the verdict in this highly visible murder trial has finally been released. On Nov. 24, Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Bryan were all found guilty in Georgia court of murdering Arbery. Elite Daily was unable to reach representatives of the three men for comment following the verdict. Now, people all over the internet are using Twitter to express how they feel, and these tweets about the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial all point out what’s still missing when it comes to real justice.
Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and Bryan each faced nine total charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. They were also charged with federal hate crimes relating to Arbery’s death, which will be tried at a later date. On Feb. 23, 2020, Arbery was shot by Travis McMichael while out jogging in Saltilla Shores, a neighborhood in Glynn County, Georgia. A video of the shooting which was widely circulated online showed the three men pursuing Arbery, an unarmed Black man, in two pickup trucks with guns. Later on in the video, Travis McMichael can be seen getting out of the vehicle, scuffling with Arbery, and fatally shooting him with a shotgun. Arbery’s attackers claimed self-defense, saying they thought he was a burglary suspect connected to a series of thefts in the neighborhood when they pursued him.
Travis McMichael was found guilty on all charges brought against him, including malice murder, multiple charges of felony murder, false imprisonment, and aggravated assault. Gregory McMichael was found guilty on eight out of nine of the same charges, while Bryan was found guilty on six.
During the trial, prosecutors stated that the defendants lacked any legitimate reason to pursue Arbery. “All three of these defendants did everything they did based on assumptions — not on facts, not on evidence,” said Linda Dunikoski, the lead prosecutor. “All of this, and what does he say his emergency is?” she continued, “‘I’m out here in Satilla Shores, and there's a Black male running down the street.’ That's the emergency.”
Defense attorney Laura Hogue, who represented Gregory McMichael, pinned the blame on Arbery in a Nov. 22 statement, stating he was “running away instead of facing the consequences” and “making terrible, unexpected, illogical choices.” Hogue elicited national outrage after presenting Arbery as a criminal using inflammatory language. “Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails,” Hogue told jurors.
Following the verdict, many people on social media weighed in on their feelings about seeing the three men held accountable for Arbery’s death. But many also weighed in on the fact that true justice would have meant a world in which Arbery was sitting at home safe with his family this Thanksgiving. Others noted the fact that it took 74 days — after the video of Arbery’s death went viral — for the men to be charged with a crime.
While a sentencing date has not yet been set, all three men face up to life in prison. They will also stand trial for hate crime charges in federal court in February 2022.