The three men facing murder and other charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery have also been indicted at the federal level for hate crimes and attempted kidnapping, according the U.S. Justice Department.
Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan are each charged with one count of interference of rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, brandishing and — in the case of Travis McMichael — discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
Arbery was shot to death on Feb. 23, 2020 while jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood. The McMichaels, suspecting Arbery of burglary, went after him in a truck while Bryan joined the chase and videoed the incident. Arbery, who was unarmed, and Travis McMichael struggled for possession of a shotgun Travis was holding when he shot Arbery three times at close range.
Arbery was Black; the three defendants are White.
The first two counts 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.”
Count One accuses the McMichaels of arming themselves, getting in a truck and chasing Arbery through the neighborhood while yelling at Arbery. It also alleges the McMichaels used their truck to cut off Arbery’s route and threaten him with their firearms and that their actions resulted in Arbery’s death. Gregory McMichael was armed with a handgun.
Count Two of the indictment, according to the release, alleges that Bryan joined in and used his truck to cut off Arbery’s route.
Count Three accuses the McMichaels and Bryan of trying 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 focus on the McMichaels’ alleged use of firearms.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced the charges along with David Estes, acting U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Georgia.
The FBI and GBI both investigated the case. It will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Lyons of the Southern District of Georgia, and Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein and Special Litigation Counsel Christopher J. Perras of the Civil Rights Division.