White father and son who killed black jogger in Brunswick, Georgia are charged with federal hate crimes while in jail awaiting murder trial
Gregory McMichael, 65, and his son Travis, 35, who are white shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery aided by their friend
The 25-year-old Black man was jogging by their house in the Georgia neighborhood on February 23, 2020, when the trio boxed him in with their trucks and shot him dead
The A friend of the McMichaels father and son, ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 51, joined the harassment of Arbery in his truck’ friend William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 51, who filmed their encounter is facing similar charges
All three on Wednesday had hate crimes added to their rap sheet
Arbery died in February 2020, the men were arrested six months later, remain in jail awaiting trial
A white father and son from Georgia, accused of murdering a black jogger while he ran through their neighborhood have had federal hate crimes charges added to their rap sheet.
Gregory McMichael, 65, and his son Travis, 35, from Brunswick in Georgia, were charged with interference of civil rights and attempted kidnapping on Wednesday over the February 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery, 25.
The McMichaels’ friend William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 51, who filmed their fatal confrontation with the unarmed jogger, has also been hit with the same federal charge. Bryan also faces state murder charges over Arbery’s killing.
Gregory McMichael – who is a former police officer- and his son have also been hit with a separate federal charge of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Prosecutors allege the men’s crimes against Arbery were motivated by the color of his skin.
Wednesday’s announcement represents the most significant civil rights prosecution of Joe Biden’s government, with the president repeatedly vowing to crack down on systemic racism in the US.
It comes as federal officials have moved quickly to open sweeping investigations into troubled police departments as civil rights takes center stage among the department’s priorities.
Arbery was shot dead while jogging through the McMichaels’ neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia.
They accused him of being a burglar, with Bryan said to have boxed Arbery in with his truck as the frightened black man tried to get away from the McMichaels.
Travis McMichael fired the fatal shot at Arbery from his shotgun, according to prosecutors.
The McMichaels and Bryan all deny felony murder charges, with their lawyers yet to comment on the federal hate crime allegations.
They have all been ordered held in jail ahead of the murder trial, a date for which has not yet been set.
In February, Arbery’s family filed a $1 million lawsuit saying officers tasked his three suspected killers with acting as law enforcement in the local community, and then staged a ‘cover-up’ of the 25-year-old black man’s ‘gruesome execution’
The federal civil rights complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia by Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper against the three men.
Former Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson, Ware County District Attorney George Barnhill, Glynn County Police Chief John Powell, police officer Robert Rash and 10 police officials known only as John Doe 1-10 are all named as defendants in the suit.
The suit claims they all violated Arbery’s civil rights and that local officials were involved in a conspiracy to cover up his death and protect those responsible.
His suspected killers evaded justice for three months, claiming they thought Arbery was a burglar and that he attacked them when they tried to make a citizen’s arrest, before being arrested in May when footage of the incident was leaked on social media.
The suspects believed they were acting ‘on behalf and under the cover of Glynn County police’ when they chased down Arbery last February, the lawsuit says.
The elder McMichael had a ‘practice of engaging in law enforcement conduct after his retirement’, the suit claims.
It points to the father and son team allegedly telling the police department they ‘made contact’ with people they suspected of crimes.
The suit also cites Travis McMichael’s ‘extensive history of racist and anti-black behavior’ and Bryan’s use of the n-word.
It quoted multiple social media posts by the younger McMichael where he used the n-word as well as court testimony from a friend in November about an incendiary text message exchange from November 2019.
Travis McMichael is said to have texted Zachary Langford about ‘shooting a crackhead c**n with gold teeth with a Hi-Point .45’.
Langford said ‘he was referring to a raccoon’ and being facetious.’
As Arbery lay dying in the street, McMichael allegedly stood over him shouting ‘f**ing n***r’.
The suit says Bryan also had ‘a history of making racist and anti-black comments in correspondence with friends.’
‘In one text message, Defendant Bryan stated that he was glad to be at the airport when there were ‘no n***rs’.
Defense attorneys for the suspects have denied any racist motives in the shooting.