The three white men responsible for the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery while jogging in broad daylight were charged Wednesday with federal hate crimes, the Department of Justice announced. A federal grand jury indicted each of the three men— Gregory McMichael, 65; his son, Travis McMichael, 35; and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51—with one count of attempted kidnapping and one count of interference with rights, alleging that the men used force and the threat of force intimidate Arbery, who was Black, from jogging on a public street because of Arbery’s race.
All three men are awaiting trial for state murder charges after they confronted, then shot and killed Arbery in February 2020. Arbery was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, when the McMichaels armed themselves and began following him in their pickup truck. The pair tried to intercept Arbery, blocking him with their truck. Travis McMichael got out of the truck and got in an altercation with Arbery, who was then shot and killed. Prosecutors said Travis McMichael “used, carried, brandished and discharged” a Remington shotgun during the scuffle and that his father “used, carried and brandished” a .357 Magnum revolver. Roddie Bryan, the other man charged with a hate crime, trailed behind the father-son duo and filmed the encounter from his truck.
No charges were filed and no arrests were made for months after Arbery’s death on Feb. 23 until video of the shooting was posted online. The case shot to national prominence and the McMichaels were ultimately charged with a host of crimes, including malice and felony murder charges, and counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. The McMichaels pleaded not guilty, claiming they thought Arbery was behind a string of burglaries in the neighborhood and were attempting to make a citizen’s arrest when the approached Arbery, armed with weapons, while jogging alone on a suburban neighborhood street.