The Three Men Accused Of Chasing And Shooting Ahmaud Arbery Have Been Indicted On Murder Charges
The death of Ahmaud Arbery helped spur much of the anger and pain that have led to the massive movement for justice and racial equality across the nation. His death, at the hand of three white men who chased him while he jogged, has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues as they shout “Black Lives Matter!”
The 25-year-old Black man was gunned down after a struggle between him and three white men who had accused him of being responsible for a string of burglaries, despite having zero evidence.
The three men implicated in Arbery’s murder have been charged and indicted by a grand jury on nine counts, including felony murder.
The men are facing nine charges, including felony murder.
The three men who have been accused in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was on a jog through his neighborhood, were indicted on Wednesday by a grand jury on nine counts.
Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, as well as William “Roddie” Bryan, were charged in May in the Feb. 23 killing of Arbery. But a grand jury was convened to officially indict the three men.
Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced the indictment on nine counts, including malice murder, felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
“This is another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud. Our team from the Cobb Judicial Circuit has been committed to effectively bringing forward the evidence in this case, and today was no exception,” Holmes said in a statement.
“We will continue to be intentional in the pursuit of justice for this family and the community at large as the prosecution of this case continues.”
They had already been charged with murder but because of the Coronavirus, they hadn’t officially been indicted.
The Coronavirus pandemic had slowed legal proceedings across the country. A grand jury is required to meet in person and, therefore, they weren’t able to convene until after June 12, once the state lifted stay-at-home measures.
What’s the difference between being charged and indicted?
Prosecutors in the U.S. have a lot of discretion when it comes to deciding on how to proceed with a criminal case. For one, a prosecutor themselves can examine the evidence (usually supplied by police officers) and decide to issues charges against a defendant.
Or they can present the evidence to a grand jury, who will decide if the state can bring charges against the defendant. There is little difference for the person charged with the crime but the process is different.
Arbery’s killing angered the nation and the botched investigation following his murder proved the need for police reform.
Gregory and Travis McMichaels, a father and son, had told police there had been break-ins in the neighborhood and that they began to chase Arbery in their truck when they saw him “hauling ass.”
They heavily armed themselves before hopping in their pickup truck and chasing down Arbery. They confronted him alongside a wooded road and, after a struggle with a shotgun, Arbery was shot by Travis.
No arrests were immediately made in the killing of the young Black man, and outrage intensified when cellphone video of the pursuit and the shooting was publicly released.
And the resulting investigation proved the need for extensive police reforms.
The handling of the case has been marred with conflicts of interest, since one of the men involved is a former investigator for the District Attorney’s office and a former police officer. Several law enforcement officials have had to recuse themselves from the case because of their connections to the McMichael family.
Only after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stepped in to investigate, were the suspects finally brought in on murder charges. Many, including leading politicians on both sides of the aisle, issued harsh statements condemning the manner in which Arbery’s murder was being handled.
Despite the frustration, Arbery’s family has held strong and has remained committed to making sure that his killers are held accountable for their actions, and that justice is served.