Wednesday 5/12/21
RACISM

Three Georgia men charged with hate crimes in black jogger's death

The Department of Justice said in a Wednesday statement that the men confronted Arbery "because of his race."
FILED - A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag as she speaks with police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest at Times square following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed on 25 May while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. Photo: Bryan Smith/ZUMA Wire/dpa
A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag as she speaks with police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest at Times square. Photo: Bryan Smith/dpa/file photo.

Three white men in Georgia were charged on Wednesday with hate crimes and attempted kidnapping in connection with the death of Ahmaud Arbery last year, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said.

Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia on 23 February when he was shot and killed.

An indictment by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia alleges that Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael blocked a road with their truck, while brandishing guns as Arbery jogged toward them.

An altercation ensued and Travis McMichael shot Arbery to death in an incident that was captured on cellphone video by William 'Roddie' Bryan, a neighbour who tailed Arbery in his vehicle.

The DoJ said in a Wednesday statement that the men confronted Arbery "because of his race."

The McMichaels and Bryan were each charged with one count of interference with rights which resulted in Arbery's death and with one count of attempted kidnapping.

The McMichaels were also charged with using, carrying, and brandishing — and in Travis's case, discharging — a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

National outcry

The three men had previously been charged with Arbery's murder.

Arbery's case sparked a national outcry after Bryan's cellphone video went viral online.

It was one of a series of instances caught on video - the foremost being the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 - that catalyzed a national reckoning with systemic racism and police brutality.

The killings unleashed a wave of protests and demonstrations across the United States and around the world, as millions joined marches for racial justice and social change in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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