Feds Bring Hate Crime Charges Over Death of Ahmaud Arbery

Already facing state murder charges, three Georgia men have also been indicted on federal hate crime charges. 

A mural of Ahmaud Arbery is seen in Brunswick, Ga., in May 2020. (AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan)

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Justice Department announced late Wednesday that a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia charged three men with hate crimes and the attempted kidnapping of Ahmaud Arbery.  

William “Roddie” Bryan and father and son duo Gregory and Travis McMichael, all white men, already face state charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment over the early 2020 shooting of the Black man in southern Georgia. 

The McMichaels, “while aiding and abetting one another, did willfully, by force and threat of force, injure, intimidate, and interfere with Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man, because of Arbery’s race and color,” the indictment reads, “and because he was and had been enjoying a facility provided and administered by a state and subdivision thereof.” 

25-year-old Arbery was jogging through his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020, when the defendants pulled up to him in a white pick-up truck because they allegedly thought he was committing a burglary. William Bryan also used his truck to cut off Arbery’s route.  

Travis McMichael then got out of the truck with a shotgun and proceeded to shoot him three times, killing the unarmed man in the street. 

The men weren’t arrested until months later, after video footage of the killing went viral and spurred national unrest. 

The latest indictment consists of five charges, including interference with rights, attempted kidnapping and using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm. 

Wednesday’s announcement comes days after the Justice Department announced pattern or practice investigations into police departments implicated in high-profile murder cases. 

During his confirmation hearing, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that pattern or practice investigations are the “core of our ability to bring action” to cases of racial injustice, he said. 

“Like many, many Americans, I was shocked by what I saw in videos of Black Americans being killed over this last summer,” he said. “That I do think created a moment in the national life that brought attention from people who had not seen what Black Americans and other members of communities of color had known for decades.” 

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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