In the USA, three white men hound an unarmed black jogger and shoot him dead. Only when a video of the bloody deed appears are the men held accountable. More jail terms follow.
Two and a half years after the murder of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, the three convicted white men have been sentenced to prison again in a second trial. A federal court in the US state of Georgia sentenced the shooter and his father to life imprisonment. The man who filmed the crime was sentenced to 35 years in prison. All three were found guilty under federal law of hate crimes in February. In the course of the proceedings, the public prosecutor's office pointed out the racist background to the crime. Since the men are already serving life sentences, the verdict is more of a symbolic nature.
The 25-year-old unarmed Arbery was shot and killed while jogging near the city of Brunswick, Georgia, in February 2020. The investigation only really got going when the case later gained national and international attention through a disturbing cell phone video of the crime. A little later - on May 25, 2020 - the African American George Floyd was killed in a brutal police operation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After that, there were months of protests against racism and police violence in the United States.
A jury found the three men guilty in a Georgia trial and sentenced them to life imprisonment in January. The shooter Travis M. was then found guilty of murder by the jury. The two co-defendants, Travis M.'s father Gregory M. and neighbor William B., were found guilty of, among other things, aggravated assault and manslaughter. All three men were also charged under federal law because of the racial background to the crime.
During the current trial before the federal court, the prosecutor had shown that the accused had written racist text messages or made racist statements in the past. The defense argued that Arbery was not being hunted for racial reasons, but because the men suspected him of a crime. Arbery had jogged through the Brunswick neighborhood where the three white convicts lived. According to investigators, they initially followed him with a vehicle and then threatened him with firearms. Travis M. shot Arbery in the chest at point-blank range.
The parents spoke up in the courtroom. "How do you think our son felt when you chased him and shot him like a dog and cornered him like a rat?" they said to the shooter, according to a CNN reporter. "I'm very proud that we found justice for Ahmaud at the federal level," Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said after the sentencing. "It was important that this murder be prosecuted for what it was - a brutal and heinous racially motivated hate crime," said Kristen Clarke, civil rights officer at the Justice Department. "Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. The tragic killing of Mr Arbery reminds us that hateful violence against black people remains a threat in our country and we must use all available means to hold perpetrators accountable. "