In the long year since the murder of George Floyd sparked international #BlackLivesMatter protests, the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery have awaited trial. On November 24, their verdicts were finally meted out.
The Arbery trial concludes nearly a week after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted for shooting several protestors at an event in Kenosha, Washington in 2020.
However, the three men tried for killing Arbery in February 2020 — Gregory McMichael, his son Travis, and neighbor William Bryan — have been found guilty of murder.
They face additional trials for separate charges that include attempted kidnapping and hate crimes and will be tried on those indictments in February 2022.
For this murder verdict alone, the trio may be sentenced to life in prison at the discretion of Judge Timothy R. Walmsley.
The New York Times explained that the jurors agreed with Arbery’s lawyers, who asserted that Arbery posed no threat to the McMichaels or Bryan and that the three men illegally pursued the 25-year-old Black man through their neighborhood.
Outside of the courtroom, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother addressed the crowd. “You know him as Ahmaud, I know him as ‘Quez,’ he will now rest in peace.”
Like Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, Arbery’s case was one of several high-profile murders of Black Americans that spurred the widespread #BLM movements through Summer 2020, attracting attention from famous supporters like JAY-Z, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and Virgil Abloh.
Commenters on social media point out that though the trial’s results are encouraging, they don’t heal the damage done.
“Ahmaud Arbery should be here,” tweeted Bernice King, the youngest child of Martin Luther King Jr.
“Im praying for and thinking of Ahmaud’s family, including his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, who in this moment, is still missing her son.”
Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of #AhmaudArbery, just shared that she believes her son can now rest in peace. We are thankful for the guilty verdicts and we take comfort in these words from his mother.
“…until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” pic.twitter.com/C0vuxbgWgY
— The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center (@TheKingCenter) November 24, 2021