The Justice Department handed down federal charges on the three men who killed Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging in their suburban neighborhood before being gunned down last year.
According to NPR, a grand jury has charged Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, each with one federal hate crime and one attempted kidnapping.
The father-son duo will also face charges for “using, carrying, and brandishing — and in Travis’s case, discharging— a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence,” via a statement from the Justice Department.
If you remember, Arbery, 25, was jogging through a neighborhood in Georgia when the McMichael’s chased him in a pickup truck and threatened him with shotguns. Bryan also joined the pursuit to block his path before Arbery was violently shot three times at a close range. It was later reported that Travis McMichael was the shooter, and Bryan recorded the horrific encounter on his phone.
The McMichaels and Bryan were free men until the footage leaked on social media two months later, instantly sparking an outcry for justice over the modern-day public lynching.
All three suspects were arrested and charged two days later for state criminal charges of murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment.
The McMichaels claimed the neighborhood experienced several break-ins in the area and suspected Arbery was involved, prompting their vigilante pursuit. All have pleaded not guilty to the charges and await a trial date that is expected to take place this year.
In response to the federal hate crime charges, attorneys for Travis McMichael responded to the indictment by doubling down on “detaining” a person he suspected was involved in a crime.
“There is absolutely nothing in the indictment that identifies how this is a federal hate crime and it ignores without apology that Georgia law allows a citizen to detain a person who was committing burglaries until police arrive,” attorneys Bob Rubin and Jason Sheffield said.
Bryan’s attorney also responded, claiming his client “committed no crime” and “looks forward to a fair and speedy trial.”