Reaction poured in around Atlanta and throughout Georgia after Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William Roddie Bryan were found guilty on the majority of the charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Luminaries throughout the Peach State weighed in, beginning with Georgia Governor, Brian P. Kemp:
“Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of a vigilantism that has no place in Georgia. As legal efforts continue to hold accountable all who may be responsible, we hope the Arbery family, the Brunswick community, our state, and those around the nation who have been following his case can now move forward down a path of healing and reconciliation.”
U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff expressed sorrow for the family’s loss of Ahmaud Arbery:
“I extend again my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Arbery family and my gratitude to the jury and court for their service. Ahmaud Arbery was a young man whose life was stolen from him, from his family, from the many who knew and loved him, and from the countless lives he would have touched in decades to come. Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers will be held accountable, but a historic civil rights mobilization was necessary for the killers to face prosecution at all. There was nearly impunity for this murder, and further investigation is necessary to determine how and why officials initially refused to pursue the case. The circumstances of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder and the struggle required to secure a prosecution demonstrate profoundly the urgency of reforms to make equal justice real in America.”
U.S. Congressman David Scott, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, today issued the following statement on the McMichael and Bryan trial verdict.
“This is one of the greatest days in the history of our nation because with this verdict – of all of them guilty – in the Arbery case here in Georgia, where just one of the twelve jurors were Black and yet they came forward with the right decision, the jury and our judicial system rose in its dedication to what is right.”
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued the following statement:
“I am grateful the jury has found the three men responsible for the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery guilty of their crimes. I am hopeful that this verdict gives Mr. Arbery’s family, and people across America, some level of comfort in knowing that these men are being held accountable for taking the life of an innocent young man.”
“Today, we can breathe a sigh of relief as fair and impartial justice has been delivered. I want to express my condolences to the family and friends of Ahmaud Arbery. And while no verdict can bring back their loved one. I pray that this moment gives them some measure of closure.”
Atlanta mayoral candidate Andre Dickens issued a statement expressing sorrow and condolences to the Arbery family. Also, he pledged to ensure greater protections shall be extended to Black men in the criminal justice system:
“I wish to extend my condolences to the Arbery family after losing their son and enduring an arduous trial over the past several months. The name “Ahmaud Arbery” is another on a long list of too many Black men and women who were snatched from us far from too soon. I take solace in knowing that the Arbery family has finally received vindication, and that in this instance, the justice system worked. I’m also thankful that our state government has repealed the archaic ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ law.
Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today and have a chance at a full and productive life. Once again, we must reaffirm that Black lives do indeed matter. As Mayor, I will fight to ensure that more protections extend to the citizens that have historically been overlooked by our justice system.”
Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, the Presiding Prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District, issued a statement regarding the Ahmaud Arbery Decision. The Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) comprises 534 churches within the State of Georgia, totaling over 90,000 parishioners:
“This jury showed that Justice can still prevail in our great Democracy and that facts matter. Even in the haze of the defense’s lies and fabrications, there are key facts we now know to be true: First and foremost, if it was not for the faithful and determined efforts of the Arbery family, this day would have never come. Each of us are in debt to them and grateful for their strength, determination, and faith. Mr. Arbery has become a part of all of our families and we will never forget that he was, and will always be, the true victim in this case.
The second is that today is a day of needed accountability for three criminals who have shown little respect for the rule of law. Third, this jury needs to be commended for faithfully bringing justice to our State and confirming for all of us that black lives do matter.
Today, we focus and unite in prayer for the Arbery family and hope this decision brings not only thanks, but begins providing some needed peace to the terrible events they have been forced to suffer through during the last number of months.”
Richard Rose, President of the Atlanta Branch of the NAACP issued a statement which read in part:
“Today’s announced conviction of the Glynn County hit squad that hunted down and executed Ahmaud Arbery is most welcome; however, the widespread doubt that there would be accountability for their actions reminds us that America must still confront institutional racism. That the now-convicted trio believed they had the right and authority to command that Arbery submit to them under penalty of death is instructive because that presumption is not isolated. Police across America shoot first at subjects of color and ask questions later. White women call 911 with exaggerated claims of misconduct against innocent men of color. White men presume authority and power without basis.”
Lastly, Atlanta Falcons owner, Arthur M. Blank also issued a statement in support of human rights and an outpouring of love toward the Arbery family:
“Today’s verdict serves as a moment of justice, a reminder for us to be steadfast in our quest for human rights in Georgia and across our nation. During this season, as we prepare to come together and give thanks, I am especially reminded of the tragedy of human life that is unjustly cut short. I think of the loved ones of Ahmaud Arbery and far too many others, who will have an empty seat at their table during what should be a joyous occasion.
My hope is that from these tragedies in Georgia and across the nation, we will seek and find a greater sense of connection, common humanity and respect. Our family foundation and family of businesses will continue to bring people together and celebrate what makes us all human while bringing forth solutions around social justice, equity and fairness that help our communities honor the dignity of all.”