Work of Ahmaud Arbery’s Mother Helps Lead to Killers’ Convictions


Courtesy of AP Images

A jury found three Georgia men guilty of murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man whom the trio pursued and confronted after seeing Arbery running in their neighborhood in 2020.

Rachel Piazza, Staff Writer

Feb. 23, 2020. This is the date that  25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while running through a neighborhood near his. However, a trial did not take place until November of this year. Without the work of Arbery’s mother, the trial likely would have never taken place. 

Arbery had been running through a predominantly white neighborhood and had been spotted wandering through a house that was under construction in the area. Although the reason he was there is unknown, there is no evidence he was doing anything more than taking a break.

Soon after he exited the house, residents Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael got in their truck with loaded weapons to start following him, saying he “looked suspicious.” 

As the pursuit continued, neighbor William Bryan got in his vehicle to help catch Arbery, who was continuing to run away from the truck following him. 

What followed wasn’t revealed until weeks later, when a 40-second video got out that shows the final confrontation: one man approaching Arbery with a gun and another man holding a firearm in the back of their truck bed. A desperate fight that ended with Arbery starting to run away and collapsing in the street. It was no easy sight. 

But without the video, it was originally assumed that the defendants had done nothing wrong. Greg McMichael, being a retired police officer, was able to effortlessly convince the police of his unmalicious intentions. 

According to USA Today, Greg McMichael told the police that he believed Arbery had been responsible for a series of break-ins and brought his gun in case Arbery was armed. 

But Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, knew there had to be more to the story. “He wasn’t armed, and he didn’t have any stolen goods in his possession, so why was he killed?” she asked in an interview with CBN, “I believe Ahmaud was killed because he was black. Satilla Shores is a predominantly white neighborhood.”

And the video evidence proved her correct.

The verdict from the eventual trial of the two McMichaels and Bryan came over Thanksgiving break, with all three being convicted for murder.

“This is the second Thanksgiving that my family and I will share without Ahmaud,” Cooper-Jones said to CNN, “but this is the first Thanksgiving that we can look at that empty chair and say, ‘We finally got justice for you, Ahmaud.'”