It has been clear from the start that these guys decided to hunt and kill a black man as a sort of twisted racist safari.
Still, I am pleasantly surprised that they were convicted.
The important thing to remember is that the cops saw the video of their murder and did nothing, and the DA saw the video and did nothing. It was only when the clip went viral that the authorities felt compelled to do something.
If this had not been recorded, and there had not been a public outrage, Ahmaud Arbery would have just been another dead black man whom the authorities would have blamed for his own death:
Three white men were found guilty of murder and other charges on Wednesday for the pursuit and fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, in a case that, together with the killing of George Floyd, helped inspire the racial justice protests of last year.
The three defendants — Travis McMichael, 35; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65; and their neighbor William Bryan, 52 — face sentences of up to life in prison. The men have also been indicted on separate federal charges, including hate crimes and attempted kidnapping, and are expected to stand trial in February on those charges.
The verdict suggested that the jury agreed with prosecutors’ arguments that Mr. Arbery posed no imminent threat to the men and that the men had no reason to believe he had committed a crime, giving them no legal right to chase him through their suburban neighborhood. “You can’t start it and claim self-defense,” the lead prosecutor argued in her closing statements. “And they started this.”
From the beginning, Mr. Arbery’s family and friends raised questions about local officials’ handling of the case. The three men who were later charged walked free for several weeks after the shooting, and were arrested only after video of the fatal encounter was released, a national outcry swelled and the case was taken over by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Like many other recent episodes involving the killing of Black people, the confrontation was captured on video. Unlike many of the others, the video was made not by a bystander but by one of the defendants, Mr. Bryan.
Jackie Johnson, the local prosecutor who initially handled the case, lost her bid for re-election in 2020 and was indicted this year by a Georgia grand jury, accused of “showing favor and affection” to Gregory McMichael, a former investigator in her office, and for directing police officers not to arrest Travis McMichael. The case was ultimately tried by the district attorney’s office in Cobb County, which is roughly 300 miles away from Brunswick in metropolitan Atlanta.
The lesson to be drawn from this case is that with sufficient public scrutiny, justice can be served even in a place as corrupt and racist as Glynn County, Georgia, but ONLY if the public is aware and actively forcing the authorities to do the right thing.