April 29 (UPI) — Three Georgia men were charged Wednesday with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping in the death of Ahmaud Arbery last year.
Gregory McMichael, 65; his son, Travis McMichael, 35; and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, were each charged with one count of interference with rights and one count of attempted kidnapping, the U.S. Justice Department announced.
The McMichaels also were charged with one count each of carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and Travis McMichael was charged with one count of discharging a firearm.
Arbery, 25, was jogging through a Brunswick, Ga., neighborhood less than 2 miles from his home on Feb. 23, 2020, as video from the scene showed him being boxed in by two pickup trucks driven by the defendants before Travis McMichael appeared to get out of the vehicle and shoot Arbery three times with a shotgun.
Travis McMichael later told police they pursued Arbery because they suspected he had committed a series of break-ins in the neighborhood.
Wednesday’s federal indictment alleges that the defendants “used force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race” and that the offense resulted in Arbery’s death.
It also alleges that all three defendants attempted to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing him in their trucks to “restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will and prevent his escape.”
The charges allege that Travis McMichael carried, brandished and discharged a Remington shotgun, while Gregory McMichael used, carried and brandished a .357 Magnum revolver.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Arbery’s family praised the decision to indict the men in a statement.
“Today is yet another step in the right direction as we seek justice for Ahmaud Arbery and his grieving family by holding those responsible for his death accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Crump said. “This is an important milestone in America’s uphill march toward racial justice and we applaud the Justice Department for treating this heinous act for what it is — a purely evil, racially motivated hate crime.”
In June of last year, a Georgia grand jury indicted the three men on nine counts, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.