In a statement released after a jury convicted three men guilty in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, National civil rights attorney Ben Crump remarked that Arbery’s family “finally has some justice,” but “we are nowhere close to the finish line.”
“Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if Ahmaud’s killers would be held to account, the Arbery family finally has some justice,” Crump said.
“Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul,” he added.
In February 2020, Arbery was jogging in his neighborhood when he was pursued and tragically shot. Last year, his death sparked massive anti-racism protests across the United States.
Arbery was a former high school football star who worked for his father’s landscaping company and a truck washing company. According to his family, before he was killed last year, he had planned to return to college.
He was 25 years old when he died, and he was on probation for minor prior offenses. Still, he was generally remembered as gregarious and compassionate, with an easy smile and contagious laugh, reported Daily Mail.
On Wednesday, after hours of deliberation, a Georgia jury convicted the three men guilty in connection with Arbery’s murder in February 2020. Travis McMichael, 35, fired the shot that killed Arbery; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, pursued Arbery in his pickup truck alongside his son; and William Bryan, 52, joined the McMichaels in their pursuit and filmed the encounter.
While some justice had been served to Arbery’s family, Crump said it was not causing celebration but rather a time for introspection.
“This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed … the violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented for video for the world to witness. But yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice,” Crump said in his statement. “Today certainly indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line.”
Crump also said that while the family gained justice, they are still crushed by their loss.
“I would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that even though we are clapping and we are cheering and we applaud, Wanda and Marcus still are devastated because they are missing Ahamud,” Crump said. “Even though this is not a celebration, it is a reflection to acknowledge that the spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob.”
Others, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, concurred with the jury’s judgment while emphasizing the long road ahead for civil rights reform, reported The Hill.
“This is a step in the right direction in justice for Ahmaud Arbery, but the system is still broken and needs fixing,” Jackson said in a statement upon the jury’s decision.