Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Claim They Aren’t Racist in Appealing Hate Crime Conviction
Three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery are singing a different tune.
In an attempt to appeal their federal hate crime conviction, Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan claimed race had nothing to the crime.
According to CNN, two of the three men are now arguing the government didn’t prove Aubrey was chased because he was Black.
The McMichaels and Bryan were found guilty of murder in 2021 — the former received life sentences; Bryan was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Then came the federal trial where all of them were found guilty again, but on interference of rights, federal hate crime, and attempted kidnapping charges.
Now they are looking for another day in court in Georgia. “The evidence against Bryan did not present a man who saw the world through a prism of racism,” attorney J. Pete Theodocion said. “He was not obsessed with African Americans such as his codefendant Travis McMichael.”
Arbery was jogging before he was shot and killed in February 2020, after the McMichaels chased him while Bryan filmed the incident. After the video was released in May, national protests broke out, several weeks prior to George Floyd’s murder.
Attorney A.J. Balbo, who is representing Gregory McMichael, told NPR “race was only relevant because it matched the race of the man on the home security footage.”
Before that, Balbo said, “The fact that Mr. Arbery was Black was merely a characteristic shared with the person seen on the security footage, a fact of no greater import to Gregory McMichael’s calculus than Mr. Arbery’s biological sex, the shorts he was wearing, his hairstyle, or his tattoos.”
During the federal trial, witnesses testified privately about racist messages sent by the three men. The messages revealed conversations where the men talked about Black people using derogatory terms and racial slurs in conversations with others.
According to CNN, this revelation was key for prosecutors, as it proved the men acted out of racial hatred.