Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A cross with flowers and a letter A sits at the entrance to the Satilla Shores neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed May 7, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia. (Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Two Men Arrested and Charged With Murder for Killing of Ahmaud Arbery After Video Sparked Nationwide Demands for Justice

"These men were vigilantes, they were a posse, they were performing a lynching in the middle of the day."

Jake Johnson

Two men were arrested Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault for the killing of 25-year-old black man Ahmaud Arbery after a video showing his shooting death in a street in Glynn County, Georgia on Feb. 23 surfaced and went viral on social media this week.

Gregory McMichael, a 64-year-old former police officer, and his son Travis McMichael were taken into custody Thursday evening, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced. The two white men claimed they believed Arbery, who was gunned down while jogging, resembled a burglary suspect.

"These men were not performing any police function or any duty as citizens of Georgia," Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery family, said during a press conference Wednesday. "These men were vigilantes, they were a posse, they were performing a lynching in the middle of the day."

As the New York Times reported late last month before footage of Arbery's killing surfaced, "a prosecutor who had the case for a few weeks told the police that the pursuers had acted within the scope of Georgia's citizen's arrest statute, and that Travis McMichael, who held the shotgun, had acted out of self-defense." During a press conference Wednesday, Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper Jones said she was told by police that her son was shot by a homeowner in the middle of a burglary.

Attorney Daniel Horwitz tweeted late Thursday that the arrest of Arbery's killers "is not attributable to a video."

"It's attributable to a video that prosecutors had long since viewed becoming public," Horwitz wrote. "That distinction should concern you a great deal."

The video of Arbery's killing (warning: the footage is disturbing) sparked nationwide outrage and demands for justice from civil rights groups and lawmakers.

"It's been a numbing state for the family, because we haven't been able to grieve," Jasmine Arbery, Ahmaud's sister, said in an appearance on CNN following the arrest of Gregory and Travis McMichael. "We're in a constant fight mode, because we're trying to receive justice for my brother."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Given Cover by Red-Baiting GOP, Corporate Dems Rebuked for Tanking Biden Nominee for Top Bank Regulator

"If you think that Senate Democrats rose up to [Republicans'] shameful display of modern McCarthyism by rallying around President Biden's nominee or her ideas that banking should work for the middle class, then you don't know the soul of today's Democratic Party," wrote one columnist.

Julia Conley ·

'S.O.S.!': Groups in Red States Nationwide Plead With Democrats to Pass Voting Rights Bill

"We can tell you firsthand that our Republican senators have no interest in joining this effort."

Jake Johnson ·

Revealed: US Public Pension Funds Are 'Quiet Culprits of Climate Chaos'

One activist called divestment "an ethical responsibility" given that "maintaining the status quo of fossil fuel energy production and investments will unquestionably lead to a self-created catastrophe."

Jessica Corbett ·

'It Is Urgent': Progressives Push for Bill to Expand and Improve Social Security

"It's time to cast a vote on behalf of all beneficiaries. Not with cuts, but with improvements to their lives."

Andrea Germanos ·

Top Democrat Says US Tax Havens 'A Stunning Indictment' of Policy Failures

"Do we want America to stand for fairness or to be just another spot for billionaires' buried treasure?" asked Rep. Bill Pascrell.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo