The three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder Wednesday.
The convictions for Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan came after jurors deliberated for about 10 hours. The men face minimum sentences of life in prison.
The verdict drew an outpouring of support for the Arbery family. The following are reactions from an interview, a statement, and Twitter.
Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, senior pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church, recently traveled to Brunswick, Georgia with a group of other clergy and lay people from Power Interfaith for a power of prayer vigil at the Glynn County Courthouse in support of the family of Ahmaud Arbery.
“I’m very relieved and thankful in this moment that the jury saw past all of the tricks of the defense,” Tyler said. “This was always the case about persons who felt that because they were white and Arbery was black, that they could do whatever they wanted to him and the justice system would back them up.
“There’s a great sense of relief that did not happen, even though almost all of the black jurors were taken off of the jury pool and even though the defense continued to complain about Black pastors coming down to show support for the family.
Tyler added, “What we cannot forget, however, is how easily this case almost never made it to trial. The initial prosecutor was content with taking them at their word, that the fact that they just simply told them their side, there was no crime scene, they were allowed to go home and that this is extremely problematic. For Black people in America, we should not have to do mass demonstrations every time. We should get the benefit of the doubt just like anyone else, and that remains a systemic problem.”
Rev. Robert Collier, president of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity: “I am very pleased with the verdict that was announced today in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial. “Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan clearly were all guilty of Ahmaud’s murder from the video footage everyone who watched the news, saw. There was no question that all three of these men had a hand in taking this young 25 year old’s life, two years ago. All Ahmaud Arbery was doing was jogging through their neighborhood. For that, he should not have been killed in the street, like an animal.”
Collier added, “I am happy that justice has finally been done in a case of a Black man being killed by white men. Historically in these kinds of cases, white defendants usually get off without facing any serious charges. What happened today was fair. The two McMichaels and Bryan were judged by a jury of their peers and found guilty. This time the system worked. Because the system worked this time, I applaud them. We are thankful that justice has been met in this case. We hope and pray that justice in courtrooms across America will continue to be served going forward, when it comes to people being on trial, who strongly appear to be racists and the victim(s) are Black or Brown. We are sorry that Ahmaud Arbery lost his life. The guilty verdicts won’t bring him back. However, we pray the decisions announced today will bring some sense of peace to the Arbery family and to the greater community, as we all await the sentencing for these three men.”
Council President Darryl Clarke: Praying that this verdict gives the family of #AhmaudArbery some degree of peace today. Also praying that our country recognizes the widespread lasting pain caused by #gunviolence and moves to make the changes needed to build a truly just society.