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Three white men, guilty of murdering an African American in Georgia

Atlanta (GA), Nov 24 (EFE) .- A jury in Georgia found three white men guilty on Wednesday of the murder of the African-American Ahmaud Arbery, whom they persecuted and killed in 2020 on the grounds that they were making a citizen arrest before the suspicion that he was a thief, in a notorious case that generated a wave of indignation and protests. Gregory McMichael, 65; his son Travis, 35, and his neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, now face the possibility of life in prison without bail after the jury, which consisted of 11 whites and a single African-American and deliberated during only 11 hours. Judge Timothy Walmsley of the Superior Court in Glynn County, in the coastal town of Brunswick, announced that the sentence will be handed down in the coming weeks and ordered that the three men remain in the custody of the sheriff. Apart from this judicial process, the McMichael and Bryan face another federal trial for having committed hate crimes and for attempted kidnapping, which is expected to begin next February. Shortly before issuing its verdict, the jury asked the magistrate to show again the video of the death of the 25-year-old African-American young man, which was recorded by Bryan and which was shown during the trial, and also asked to hear the call to the emergency number 911 that he did to alert about what happened. CELEBRATION IN FRONT OF THE COURT Following the jury’s decision, a group of protesters gathered outside the court, including several African-American leaders, including the Reverend and human rights activist Al Sharpton, applauded and celebrated the guilty verdict. After leaving the court accompanied by her relatives, where a crowd was waiting for her excited by the result of the judicial process, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said that she did not expect to see the day when the defendants were found guilty of murder. by a jury. Relatives and lawyers came out with their arms raised and were received by those present with their fists raised. “To tell you the truth, I never expected that I would see a day like this in 2020, I never expected such a day, but God is good. Thank you, thank you to those who have manifested, those who have prayed,” said the woman. “The murder of Ahmaud Arbery, witnessed by the world on video, is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country. Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery, “said President Joe Biden in a statement released by the White House. Biden added that “nothing can bring Arbery back to his family and community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished.” The president maintained that the jury’s decision reflects that “the justice system” is doing its job, but considered that it is not enough. “We must re-commit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin,” he stressed. VICTIM OF “SURVEILLANCE” “Ahmaud Arbery was a victim of ‘vigilantism’, which has no place in Georgia. We hope that the Arbery family, the Brunswick community, our state and all those around the country who have been following this case can now move forward on a path of healing and reconciliation, ”declared Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. The events occurred on February 23, 2020 when Arbery was running to exercise through a white neighborhood on the outskirts of Brunswick and was intercepted by the McMichaels, who after chasing him in their truck shot him point-blank with a shotgun, killing him. During the trial, in which the testimonies of some 30 witnesses were presented over the course of almost two weeks, the defense maintained that his clients confronted Arbery because they tried to carry out a “citizen’s arrest” on suspecting that he was a thief. According to defense attorneys, the defendants saw Arbery enter a home under construction and thought he was stealing. “He was a recurring night intruder and that was terrifying,” argued lawyer Laura Hogue, who pointed out that there was no reason for him to be in that house on four occasions. The Prosecutor’s Office, for its part, argued that the young man never committed a crime. crime and that he was murdered by the McMichaels and Bryan “not because he was a threat to them, but because he did not stop to talk to them.” Presenting her closing arguments, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said that for the citizen’s arrest to have been legal, the person attempting to execute it must have witnessed a crime. “A private person could arrest a criminal if the crime is committed in their presence,” Dunikoski said of the citizen arrest legislation, which was recently repealed in Georgia but was still in effect at the time of the young African-American’s death. Armed and in a van, the McMichaels chased Arbery as he ran through a neighborhood on the outskirts of Brunswick. The other defendant, Bryan, joined the pursuit and recorded with a mobile phone how Travis McMichael shot Arbery up close, killing him. Arbery’s case joined several others that sparked a wave of outrage in the summer of last year, including that of young African-American Rayshard Brooks, who was shot dead by a white police officer in Atlanta, and George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who died after being arrested by a white officer. (c) EFE Agency

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