With the murder of George Floyd, this drama had catalyzed the anti-racist demonstrations of the summer of 2020. This Wednesday, the jury delivered its verdict at the trial of the three white Americans on trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young African-American who ‘they had chased as he appeared to be jogging in their residential neighborhood.

The perpetrator, Travis McMichael, 35, who was pleading in self-defense, was convicted of murder. So did his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, who was armed with a pistol and shouted “fucking nigger” next to Ahmaud Arbery’s body, and William Bryan, 52, a neighbor who had followed them with his pick-up, helping to wedge Ahmaud Arbery between their two vehicles. The three men are also found guilty of false arrests. The twelve jurors, including one black man, deliberated for more than eleven hours to reach this unanimous verdict. And the announcement was greeted by protesters outside the courtroom as a family member shouted for joy in the room.

Chased because “he was black”

The three men claimed that they had attempted to carry out a citizen’s arrest – under a law since retoque – because they suspected Ahmaud Arbery of being the author of several burglaries in the neighborhood. But prosecutor Linda Dunikoski undermined their defense, stressing that the victim had “committed no crime”. He did enter a house under construction, but it was not locked, and he did not steal anything, according to CCTV footage. According to the prosecutor, the three men chased Ahmaud Arbery for more than five minutes, armed, on the basis of “prejudice”, because “he was black and ran in the street”.

The three men will be fixed on their sentence at a later date. In Georgia, the minimum for a murder is life imprisonment, and the maximum the death penalty, but prosecutors have not requested it. On the other hand, the judge will be able to decide on the possibility of parole after thirty years.

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