The mother of Ahmaud Arbery is sharing her reaction to the guilty verdict in the high-profile trial over her son’s killing.
A jury found Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and friend William “Roddie” Bryan guilty of murder Wednesday. Soon after, Wanda Cooper-Jones told Fox News that she is relieved with the convictions and that she hopes they encourage “accountability.”
All three men face minimum life sentences. A judge will decide if they can receive parole.
“The least we can do”
According to reports, the three men said they were attempting to make a citizens’ arrest when they began chasing Arbery one day in their Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood on the suspicion that he was fleeing a burglary. But they also told police they didn’t know for sure that Arbery had done anything wrong.
The February 2020 pursuit proved deadly when Travis McMichael shot Arbery during an altercation that was captured on video by Bryan, according to the New York Post.
Cooper-Jones said that her son, 25, was “hunted down like an animal” and that she is gratified that he received “the last word.”
“I think that Ahmaud deserves the last word,” she said, according to Fox. “Ahmaud was actually hunted down like an animal and I think the last word is very much deserving to him. I mean, he deserves that. That’s the least we can do for him.”
The Arbery case prompted Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to repeal the state’s citizens’ arrest law, which had been in place since the Civil War, according to the Associated Press, and create a new hate crime law — moves Cooper-Jones described as her son’s legacy.
“Ahmaud has already brought about the hate crime law here in Georgia, and also the citizen’s arrest law being repealed,” she said, as Fox reported.
She said she is hoping the verdict sends a message of “accountability,” a sentiment echoed by President Joe Biden.
Days after the president said the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse in Wisconsin left him “angry and concerned,” Biden had a starkly different response to the Arbery verdict, saying it showed “the justice system doing its job” while adding that it was “not enough,” according to Fox.
“While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough,” the president said. “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.”