The verdict is in and three men have been convicted in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
Arbery, 25, was fatally shot by three white men while running through a Georgia neighborhood in February 2020. Wednesday, a jury found Travis McMichael, who fired the shots, guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and four counts of felony murder. His father, Gregory McMichael, was found not guilty of malice murder but guilty of felony murder and all other charges. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, was found guilty of three counts felony murder, one count aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was not convicted of malice murder, one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault.
Celebrities and media personalities are reacting to the jury’s decision on social media.
“As it should be,” actress Viola Davis wrote in an Instagram post. “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!!!!!!!!”
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Actress Claudia Jordan’s thoughts were also with Arbery’s mom. “Prayers up to Ahmaud’s mother and entire family,” she tweeted. “You all should have never had to go thru this in the first place. I hope this brings some closure although I’m sure the loss of your son will never ease. #LoveAndHealing to you all”
Author Stephen King tweeted that he’s “happy those three would-be vigilantes are going to prison.”
“I’d be happier if Ahmaud Arbery was still alive,” he continued. “That young man had his whole life ahead of him and those guys took it away.”
Comedian Wanda Sykes and “The Good Place” actress Jameela Jamil declared the verdict “Justice.” Similarly, stand-up Kathy Griffin tweeted: “It’s so gratifying to see justice being served.” Media personality Piers Morgan applauded the verdict. “Justice is done, and by a virtually all-white jury too,” he tweeted with clapping hands emojis.
But former football player and sports analyst Emmanuel Acho argued the verdict could not bring about justice. “As you digest the guilty verdict of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers remember, this is not justice, but accountability,” he tweeted. “Justice implies true restoration, which is impossible in this case, but this is accountability which is the first step towards justice.”
CNN host Van Jones tweeted similar sentiments. “Nothing can bring #AhmaudArbery back,” he wrote. “But this verdict is a big RED LIGHT to all vigilantes and wannabe cops who want to enforce their own made-up laws on people who don’t look like them.”
Politician Stacey Abrams, formerly a member of Georgia’s House of Representatives, hoped the jury’s findings would provide comfort. “A jury believed the evidence of their eyes and saw the meanness in the killers’ hearts,” she tweeted. “May this verdict bring a small measure of peace to #AhmaudArbery’s family and loved ones.”
Author Roxane Gay revealed her concern the accused would walk away. “Thank goodness for cell phones and correct verdicts. I thought they would let those men go free,” she posted to Twitter. “I am working toward embracing abolition because I know prison isn’t working but these three men can sit in prison and think about what they did. For a long time. For about as long as Ahmaud Arbery will rest in, I hope, peace.”
Contributing: Charles TrepanyN’dea Yancey-Bragg, Raisa Habersham and Grace Hauck