Three men have been indicted on murder charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man fatally shot after being accosted while running in a suburban neighbourhood near Georgia’s coast.
Prosecutor Joyette Holmes announced on Wednesday that a grand jury has indicted Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jnr on charges including malice and felony murder in Mr Arbery’s death.
“This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond,” Ms Holmes said outside the Glynn County courthouse in Brunswick.
Mr Arbery’s death has often been invoked during protests against racial injustice that have broken out across the US since George Floyd’s death in May under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee. Mr Arbery’s death also fuelled a renewed push for a state hate crimes law in Georgia, which state politicians passed on Tuesday.
Lawyers for the McMichaels have cautioned against a rush to judgment and have said the full story will come out in court. A lawyer for Mr Bryan has maintained that his client was merely a witness.
Mr Arbery was killed on February 23 when Greg and Travis McMichael, a white father and son, armed themselves and pursued 25-year-old Mr Arbery, who was running in their neighbourhood.
It wasn’t until May 7, two days after Mr Bryan’s mobile phone video leaked online and provoked a national outcry, that the McMichaels were arrested by local police.
Greg McMichael told police he suspected Mr Arbery was a burglar and that Mr Arbery attacked his son before being shot. Mr Arbery’s family has said he was out for a jog.