In the trial of the death of the black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in the US state of Georgia, the three white defendants have been convicted of murder. The jury found 35-year-old gunman Travis McMichael and his father Gregory McMichael and his neighbor William Bryan guilty of murder and other charges on Wednesday, the judge announced. The three men are now facing life imprisonment. The exact sentence will be determined at a later date.

The Arbery case caused outrage and headlines last year. The now convicted men had followed the African American in a car on February 23, 2020 in a suburb of the city of Brunswick and shot him after a scuffle. According to their own statements, they had mistaken the jogger for a burglar and cited a law in force in Georgia at the time that allowed citizens to arrest suspects.

A video recorded by Bryan shows how the McMichaels, armed with a rifle and a revolver, block the path of the running Arbery with their pickup truck. There is an argument between Travis McMichael and Arbery, then several shots can be heard and the black man collapses. Travis McMichael later protested in court that he acted in self-defense because Arbery attacked him.

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The case was politically charged: Arbery’s death – along with the death of George Floyd in a brutal police operation in Minneapolis in particular – led to the nationwide anti-racism protests that kept the United States in suspense in the summer of 2020. There was outrage that the judiciary only took action against the white men when the video of the incident became public months later. Most recently, there was criticism that there was only one black juror on the twelve-person jury. (AFP)

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