The three white men suspected of killing 25-year-old Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia this past February have been officially indicted on multiple counts of murder, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced on Wednesday.
Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and William Bryan face a total of nine counts, including malice murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault for their role in the Feb. 23 shooting death of Arbery, who was confronted and killed by the McMichaels while Bryan filmed the incident.
The indictment, issued by a grand jury, claims both McMichaels and Bryan "unlawfully, with malice aforethought, caused the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a human being, by unlawfully chasing him through the public roadways of the Satilla Shores neighborhood in pickup trucks and shooting him with a shotgun, contrary to the laws of said State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof."
In a statement, Holmes called the indictments "another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud."
"Our team from the Cobb Judicial Circuit has been committed to effectively bringing forward the evidence in this case and today was no exception," Holmes continued. "It has been an effort of many agencies including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice who have worked together to get to this point. We will continue to be intentional in the pursuit of justice for this family and the community at large as the prosecution of this case continues."
Arbery's death, and the months of intervening time between his killing and any legal action against the killers, is one of many instances of racist violence which has helped animate the rising civil rights movement fueling protests in cities across the country. In Arbery's case, outrage generated after footage of the shooting was released publicly is very possibly the only reason the killers are facing any charges, as the case had been dormant for months until Bryan's video leaked — even though authorities had seen the disturbing footage already.
Investigators had previously stated that the younger McMichael used a racial slur after shooting Arbery. Greg McMichael formerly served as a law enforcement officer with the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office — a position that contributed to delays in any eventual charges against the trio, as successive county district attorneys passed on pursuing the case due to claims of conflict of interest.