Three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery on a residential street acted out of “pent-up racial anger” and should be convicted of hate crimes, a federal prosecutor told a jury Monday. Defense attorneys argued that the Black man was fatally shot in self-defense and had acted suspiciously during prior trips to the neighborhood.
The jury of eight white people, three Black people and one Hispanic person adjourned without a verdict Monday evening after deliberating about for about three hours following closing legal arguments in U.S. District Court. Verdicts on hate crime charges rest not on whether the pursuit and shooting were justified, but whether they were motivated by racism.
The jury was to resume deliberations Tuesday morning.
In Georgia, prosecutor Christopher Perras argued that Travis McMichael “was just looking for a reason” to hurt a Black person when the 25-year-old Arbery jogged past his home on a Sunday afternoon. Perras cited a slew of racist comments and videos the defendant had posted online.
And when McMichael, his father and a neighbor began chasing Arbery, they had no evidence he had done anything wrong, but they assumed he had because he was Black, Perras said.
When McMichael’s father, Greg McMichael, saw Arbery jogging down the street, “he didn’t grab his phone and call police,” Perras said. “He called his son and grabbed his gun.”
“There’s a big difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante,” said Perras, later adding: “It’s important for you to understand the full depth of the defendants’ racial hatred.”
Defense attorneys insisted past racist statements by their clients offered no proof that they targeted Arbery because of his race. They urged the jury to set aside emotions when deciding the case.
Source: AP News