‘A step closer to justice’: Reaction to verdicts in Arbery case floods social media

Social media was flooded with reaction from around the country within moments of a guilty verdict in the federal hate crimes trial for the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery. And a similar message was echoed: Justice was served.

The NAACP posted a black box on Twitter with the word “GUILTY” in all caps.

“Justice was served in the #AhmaudArbery case, but we remain steadfast in the fight to ensure that black and brown children can exist w/o the fear of being a victim to racist people emboldened by a racist system,” the NAACP posted.

Arbery, 25, was killed two years ago Wednesday in the Satilla Shores subdivision just outside Brunswick after being chased for five minutes by Travis McMichael, his father Greg and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan. All three defendants were convicted of murder last year and sentenced in January to life in prison. Only Bryan, now 52, was given the possibility of parole.

On Tuesday, the defendants were convicted of interfering with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race as well as attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also found guilty of using weapons during a crime of violence.

“Today was another necessary step toward justice in a case that shocked many across our state and nation, my family included,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a social media statement. “We continue to pray for Ahmaud’s family that they may find peace and healing after today’s verdict, and we remain committed to keeping Georgia a safe, hate-free place for all to call home.”

Shannon Watts, an American gun violence prevention activist and the founder of Moms Demand Action, posted that the cell phone video released months after Arbery’s death ultimately led to the case being prosecuted.

“A reminder that prosecutors pursued the case only after a video of the murder went viral in May 2020 — three months after the killing took place,” Watts posted on Twitter.

The president of the non-profit organization People For the American Way, Ben Jealous, released the following statement:

“This verdict speaks to accountability at the federal level for a murder motivated by hate. This is a just verdict for three men that chased, cornered and killed Ahmaud Arbery. The case at the state level was tried because of the persistence of state prosecutors. The current verdict happened because the Department of Justice followed through on the federal government’s commitment to indict killers on federal hate crimes charges. This is the kind of accountability we must have to address the ongoing terror of white supremacy that’s reigned in our country for hundreds of years, where Black people can be killed with impunity. We must continue to fight for justice for every American who has been the victim of white domestic terrorism and the injustice it fosters.”

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.

About the Author