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Ahmaud Arbery Suspects face federal hate crime charges over killing



Three men have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of hate crimes and attempted kidnap over the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and neighbour William Bryan are already awaiting trial in Georgia on state charges, including murder. Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man, was jogging in February 2020 when he was confronted by the three white men. His killing and the subsequent police handling of the case sparked protests. In a statement, the US Attorney’s office in the Southern District of Georgia said the three men were charged with allegedly interfering with Mr Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race. They are also accused of attempting “to unlawfully seize and confine Arbery by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him”. Gregory McMichael, 65, and his son Travis, 35, are each further charged with a count of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm. Travis is also charged with discharging the firearm. The three men have already pleaded not guilty to charges, issued by a grand jury in Georgia last June, of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and a criminal attempt to commit a felony. Ahmaud Arbery was out running in the coastal city of Brunswick early in the afternoon of 23 February when he was pursued by the McMichaels. They told police they believed Mr Arbery resembled the suspect in a series of recent local break-ins. Mobile phone video later emerged that appeared to show Mr Arbery trying to jog pass a stationary pick-up before struggling with one of the people in the truck. There is muffled shouting and gun shots. It later emerged that the video had been shot by William Bryan, who was accused of following Mr Arbery “in hot pursuit”. For more than two months, police did not charge the McMichaels until the shooting gained widespread attention in the national media and provoked outrage.

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