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Sentencing Hearing Held For Men Convicted Of Ahmaud Arbery Murder

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There’s a reason so many Black people hate America: Even when we get justice we know how quickly it can turn to justice-lite at best and injustice at worst (and as usual).

Ahmaud Arbery‘s murderers were convicted and sentenced to life in state prison, and all was right with the world. But because America is always going to America, Gregory and Travis McMichael were able to cut a backdoor plea deal with federal prosecutors and the Department of Justice that would ensure at least two out of the three Arbery lynchers would serve any federal sentence imposed on them concurrently with their state sentences, which they would likely spend in federal prison as opposed to state prison.

According to CNN, attorney S. Lee Merritt spoke out against the deal after documents were filed Sunday in federal court, ahead of the McMicaels’ and  William “Roddie” Bryan‘s federal trial, which is set to start on February 7.

“Federal prison is a country club when compared to state prison,” Merritt tweeted. “Federal prisons are less populated, better funded and generally more accommodating than state prisons. These men hurriedly entered this plea deal that would allow them to transfer out of custody from GA prison.”

“By admitting they were motivated by hate when they hunted & murdered Ahmaud Arbery these men get to transfer to safer, less crowded & more orderly federal detention facilities,” he continued in a follow-up tweet. “In essence, they get to publicly brag about their hatred & then be rewarded by the federal government.”

Merrit also said Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, was “devastated” by the news.

“They went behind my back. I’m totally, totally upset. My anxiety is over the roof,” Coper-Jones said of the federal prosecutors in an interview Sunday, according to the New York Times.

She also said federal officials had asked her earlier if she approved of a deal, and that she had told them she didn’t. She also said she planned to persuade the judge to reject the deal.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened.

CNN reported in an update to its original story that US District Judge Lisa G. Wood ultimately rejected the deal in court Monday. So maybe we’re still looking at an all-too-rare instance of justice for Black victims of white hate in America. Still, the fact that federal prosecutors and the DOJ were all in for going out of their way to lesson the McMichaels’ well-deserved burdon serves as a reminder that justice can be taken away as fast as it’s granted.