Justice finally for Ahmaud Arbery
A crowd gathers under a new sign designating a city roadway as Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
(AP) — The white father and son who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood each received a second life prison sentence for committing federal hate crimes, months after getting their first for murder at a hearing that brought a close to more than two years of criminal proceedings.
U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood handed down the sentences against Travis McMichael, 36, and his father, Greg McMichael, 66, reiterating the gravity of the February 2020 killing that shattered their Brunswick community. William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who recorded cellphone video of the slaying, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
“A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will be forever 25. And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black,” Wood said.
The McMichaels were previously sentenced to life without parole in state court for Arbery’s murder and had asked the judge to divert them to a federal prison to serve their sentences, saying they were worried about their safety in the state prison system. Bryan had sought to serve his federal sentence first. Wood declined all three requests.
The sentences imposed Monday brought an end to the second trial against the men responsible for Arbery’s slaying, which along with the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky fueled a wave of protests across the country against the killings of unarmed Black people.
Arbery’s parents joined the celebration the day after the men responsible for their son’s death received harsh prison sentences in U.S. District Court for committing federal hate crimes.
Officials in coastal Brunswick, where Arbery grew up, have ordered that intersections along all 2.7 miles of Albany Street that runs through the heart of the city’s Black community will have additional signs designating it as Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street.