White father and son who killed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery charged with federal hate crimes while in jail awaiting murder trial

 A white father and son charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery after they allegedly chased him down and shot him after spotting him running in their Georgia neighborhood have now had federal hate crimes added to their rap sheet.  

Gregory McMichael, 65, and his son Travis, 35, were charged with interference of civil rights and attempted kidnapping on Wednesday over the February 2020 murder of the 25-year-old black man in Brunswick. 

The McMichaels' friend William 'Roddie' Bryan, 51, who filmed their fatal confrontation with the unarmed jogger, has also been hit with the same federal charge. Bryan also faces state murder charges over Arbery's killing. 


Travis and Gregory were also charged with one count each of using, carrying and brandishing - and in Travis's case discharging - a firearm during a crime of violence.

Prosecutors have alleged the killing of Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia was motivated by his skin color. 

Arbery was killed on February 23, 2020, by three close-range shotgun blasts after the McMichaels pursued him in a pickup truck as he was running through their neighborhood.   

Travis McMichael (left) his father Gregory McMichael (center) and their friend William 'Roddie' Bryan, right, have all been charged with federal hate crimes over the death of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery

Travis McMichael (left) his father Gregory McMichael (center) and their friend William 'Roddie' Bryan, right, have all been charged with federal hate crimes over the death of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery

Arbery, 25, died on February 23, 2020, while he was out for a run in his neighborhood

Arbery, 25, died on February 23, 2020, while he was out for a run in his neighborhood

The McMichaels and Bryan, who are all being held in jail pending a trial date, all deny felony murder charges.

Their lawyers, who have previously said McMichaels and Bryan believed Arbery was a burglar, are yet to comment on the federal hate crime allegations.  

The federal indictment alleges the McMichaels 'armed themselves with firearms, got into a truck and chased Arbery through the public streets of the neighborhood while yelling at Arbery, using their truck to cut off his route and threatening him with firearms.' 

It also alleges that Bryan got into a truck and then chased Arbery before using the vehicle to block his path.

The indictment alleges that the men 'used force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery´s right to use a public street because of his race'. 

In addition to the hate-crime charges, prosecutors allege the men tried 'to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will, and prevent his escape'. 

The McMichaels and Bryan already face state criminal charges of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony but no trial date has been set. 

They weren't arrested until 10 weeks later when when a cellphone video of the shooting was leaked online and a national outcry erupted.  

Graphic moment Ahmaud Arbery is shot dead while jogging
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Arbery was boxed-in by Bryan's truck. Bryan filmed the encounter

Arbery, in a white t-shirt, is confronted by Travis McMichael, who holds a shotgun

Arbery, in a white t-shirt, is confronted by Travis McMichael, who holds a shotgun

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case the day after the video emerged and swiftly arrested the three men. 

The McMichaels had told local police on the scene that they suspected Arbery was involved in a string of neighborhood burglaries when they spotted him running through the community and said they chased him down in their pickup truck to make a citizen's arrest.

The video showed Arbery jogging down a two-lane street, then being shot with a rifle as he was confronted by two armed men who had stopped their pickup in his path.

The McMichaels' lawyers have said they pursued Arbery after security cameras had previously recorded him entering a home under construction. They say Travis McMichael shot Arbery while fearing for his life as they grappled over a shotgun.

Local prosecutors, however, have said Arbery stole nothing and was merely out jogging when the McMichaels and Bryan chased him. 

In pretrial court hearings in Georgia, prosecutors have presented evidence that racism may have played a role in the man's death.

Last June, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation testified Bryan told investigators that Travis McMichael uttered a racist slur right after the shooting as he stood over Arbery, who was bleeding on the ground. 

Gregory McMichael is photographed being taken into custody
Travis McMichael was also arrested after Arbery's killing in February 2020

Gregory McMichael is photographed being taken into custody

Gregory McMichael has had his bond denied and remains in custody, as does his son

Gregory McMichael has had his bond denied and remains in custody, as does his son

'Mr Bryan said that after the shooting took place before police arrival, while Mr Arbery was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael make the statement, 'f***ing n-word,'' GBI agent Richard Dial testified.

Travis McMichael's attorneys have denied that he made the remark.

The announcement of hate crime charges represents the most significant civil rights prosecution of Joe Biden's government, with the president repeatedly vowing to crack down on systemic racism in the US. 

It comes as federal officials have moved quickly to open sweeping investigations into troubled police departments as civil rights takes center stage among the department's priorities.   

S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, applauded the hate crimes charges on Wednesday, tweeting that the federal case would 'serve as a fail-safe to the state prosecution.'

'Hate claimed Ahmaud´s life,' Merritt tweeted. 'Our justice system must combat intolerance.'

It comes after Arbery's family filed a $1 million lawsuit in February saying officers tasked his three suspected killers with acting as law enforcement in the local community and then staged a 'cover-up' of the 25-year-old black man's 'gruesome execution'.

The federal civil rights complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia by Arbery's mother against the three men.

Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones is filmed kneeling over her son's grave at the New Springfield Baptist Church in Waynesboro, Georgia, in February 2021

Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones is filmed kneeling over her son's grave at the New Springfield Baptist Church in Waynesboro, Georgia, in February 2021

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery's mother, at the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick in May

Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery's mother, at the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick in May

Former Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson, Ware County District Attorney George Barnhill, Glynn County Police Chief John Powell, police officer Robert Rash and 10 police officials known only as John Doe 1-10 are all named as defendants in the suit. 

The suit claims they all violated Arbery's civil rights and that local officials were involved in a conspiracy to cover up his death and protect those responsible. 

The suspects believed they were acting 'on behalf and under the cover of Glynn County police' when they chased down Arbery last February, the lawsuit says.

The elder McMichael had a 'practice of engaging in law enforcement conduct after his retirement', the suit claims.

It points to the father and son team allegedly telling the police department they 'made contact' with people they suspected of crimes.   

The suit also cites Travis McMichael's 'extensive history of racist and anti-black behavior' and Bryan's use of the n-word.

It quoted multiple social media posts by the younger McMichael where he used the n-word as well as court testimony from a friend in November about an incendiary text message exchange from November 2019. 

Travis McMichael is said to have texted Zachary Langford about 'shooting a crackhead c**n with gold teeth with a Hi-Point .45'. 

Langford said 'he was referring to a raccoon' and being facetious.' 

As Arbery lay dying in the street, McMichael allegedly stood over him shouting 'f**ing n***r'. 

The suit says Bryan also had 'a history of making racist and anti-black comments in correspondence with friends.'

'In one text message, Defendant Bryan stated that he was glad to be at the airport when there were 'no n***rs'. 

Defense attorneys for the suspects have denied any racist motives in the shooting. 

White father and son who killed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery charged with federal hate crimes while in jail awaiting murder trial White father and son who killed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery charged with federal hate crimes while in jail awaiting murder trial Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:44 Rating: 5

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