Politicians, activists, and celebrities are reacting on social media to the guilty verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case.
Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that the guilty verdicts for the three men charged in killing Arbery last year send “an important message.”
“Today, the jury rendered its verdicts and the three defendants were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery,” the statement said, per CNN. “Still, we feel the weight of grief. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive, and nothing can take away the pain that his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, his father Marcus Arbery, and the entire Arbery family and community feel today. I share in that pain.”
The convictions for Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan came after jurors deliberated for about 10 hours. The men face minimum sentences of life in prison. It is up to the judge to decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.
All three white men were convicted of murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting that became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice, theGrio reported.
“These verdicts send an important message, but the fact remains that we still have work to do. The defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a young Black man with racist tropes, “ Harris’ statement continued.
“The jury arrived at its verdicts despite these tactics. Ahmaud Arbery was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend. His life had meaning. We will not forget him. We honor him best by continuing the fight for justice.”
In his own statement, President Joe Biden said, “Ahmaud Arbery’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country. Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery. Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished.”
Biden added, “While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin. My administration will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans.”
Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump issued the following statement in response to the guilty verdict.
“Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if Ahmaud’s killers would be held to account, the Arbery family finally has some justice. Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul,” Crump said.
Crump added, “While today is not one for celebration, it is one for reflection. This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed…the violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness.
But yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice. Today certainly indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line. America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right. And never stop running for Ahmaud.”
Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams tweeted:
“Nothing can ever assuage the loss of #AhmaudArbery for his parents and loved ones, and the work of local organizers + the Brunswick community should not have been so vital to securing justice. Georgia must move forward on criminal justice reforms – not retreat.
“A jury believed the evidence of their eyes and saw the meanness in the killers’ hearts. May this verdict bring a small measure of peace to #AhmaudArbery’s family and loved ones.”
Celebrities flooded social media to express relief at the verdict.
Viola Davis tweeted to Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, “To Wanda….Ahmaud Arbery’s mother….. your son mattered. His life mattered. I pray this brings you a tiny shred of peace. To the jurors…..huge gratitude for doing right. The pendulum of justice swung in the right direction!!!!!!!!”
“Just a reminder that these men were only arrested after people shared the video of them murdering Ahmaud Arbery, AND THEN more people demanded that just be served,” comic W. Kamau Bell tweeted. “Once again, ACTIVISM WORKS!”
Actor Jameela Jamil tweeted, “I am just glad these men cannot bring harm to anyone else now. They have to just rot and remember what they did.”
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