Ahmaud Arbery: Suspects charged with murder in Brunswick man’s 2020 death now charged with federal hate crimes

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — UPDATE 4/29/21: A federal court date has now been set for the suspects in the Ahmaud Arbery murder. Gregory and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan will face a federal judge May 11 at 1:30 p.m.

Original story from 4/28/21:

The three Georgia men facing state murder charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery are now facing federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Travis McMichael, 35; Travis’s father, Gregory McMichael, 65; and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, are each charged with one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping, according to the DOJ.

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Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing — and in Travis’s case, discharging — a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, the release detailed.

ORIGINAL STORY FROM 2020: Ahmaud Arbery case: Man killed in Brunswick in February, shooter not arrested

The McMichaels and Bryan were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia. The DOJ detailed the indictment as follows:

“Counts One and Two of the indictment allege 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. Specifically, Count One of the indictment alleges that as Arbery was running on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, Travis and Gregory McMichael armed themselves with firearms, got into a truck, and chased Arbery through the public streets of the neighborhood while yelling at him, using their truck to cut off his route, and threatening him with firearms. Count One also alleges that the offense resulted in Arbery’s death. Count Two alleges that William “Roddie” Bryan joined the chase and used his truck to cut off Arbery’s route.

“In addition to the hate-crime charges, Count Three alleges that all three defendants attempted to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will, and prevent his escape. Counts Four and Five allege that during the course of the crime of violence charged in Count One, Travis used, carried, brandished, and discharged a Remington shotgun, and Gregory used, carried, and brandished a .357 Magnum revolver.”

EXCLUSIVE: William ‘Roddie’ Bryan told police he tried to ‘block’ Ahmaud Arbery, body camera video shows

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr released the following statement on Twitter on the federal charges:

“This action is consistent with a formal request that I made last May to @SDGAnews. We commend this positive development and the continued push to get answers for Ahmaud’s family, community and our state. And, our investigation into the handling of the case from the outset remains a top priority.”

MAY 2020 STORY: Ahmaud Arbery: Georgia AG requests DOJ look into shooting death

S. Lee Merritt, the attorney for Arbery’s family, released the following statement on Twitter:

“The family of Ahmaud Arbery is grateful for the fed hate crime charges against the men responsible for his murder. These charges will serve as a fail-safe to the state prosecution. Hate claimed Ahmaud’s life. Our justice system must combat intolerance.”

MAY 2020 STORY: Ahmaud Arbery: Department of Justice looking at federal hate crime charges

Robert Rubin, the attorney for Travis McMichael, released the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Justice Department bought the false narrative that the media and state prosecutors have promulgated. There is absolutely nothing in the indictment that identifies how this is a federal hate crime and it ignores without apology that Georgia law allows a citizen to detain a person who was committing burglaries until police arrive.”

RELATED: Ahmaud Arbery case leads to new push for hate crime legislation in Georgia

Kevin Gough, the attorney for Bryan, released the following statement:

“We are very disappointed with the decision of the Department of Justice to pursue the prosecution of Mr. Bryan. Roddie Bryan has committed no crime. We look forward to a fair and speedy trial, and to the day when Mr. Bryan is released and reunited with his family.”

Both the McMichaels and Bryan have also been charged in a separate state proceeding with charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. No trial date has been set for the state case, but their next court dates for the state charges are May 12 and 13.

Read the indictment here.

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