Ahmaud Arbery case: 3 men now charged with federal hate crimes, attempted kidnapping in death

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery with hate crimes and attempted kidnapping charges.

Travis McMichael, 35; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, and William "Roddie" Bryan, 51, each face one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. Travis is also being charged with discharging that weapon.

"Today (Wednesday) the justice department said not only is it a shame but it’s a federal crime," Local Attorney Francys Johnson said.

Travis McMichael, 35, his father Gregory McMichael, and William ‘Roddie’ Bryan were indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges including interference with rights, which is a hate crime.

"This is a five-count indictment for brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. As well as attempted kidnapping as well as interference with Mr. Arbery’s rights," Johnson said.

RELATED: New lead prosecutor named in case of Ahmaud Arbery's death


Gregory McMichael (;eft), his son Travis McMichael and William Bryan (right).

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot and killed on February 23, 2020, while jogging down through the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick while being pursued by the McMichaels, both armed, federal prosecutors said. Bryan joined the chase and eventually cut off Arbery's route where federal prosecutors said Travis McMichael shot Arbery with a Remington shotgun.

"This is a five-count indictment for brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. As well as attempted kidnapping as well as interference with Mr. Arbery’s rights," Johnson said.

RELATED: GBI: Arrests in Ahmaud Arbery based on 'facts' and 'law,' not just video

All three were charged by the state of Georgia with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. No trial date has been set for that and just Monday, a new state prosecutor was named.

Francys Johnson is an attorney for Davis, Bozeman, Johnson Law Group and said the men violated Arbery’s rights when they interfered with his right to jog freely on a public street in Brunswick because of his race.

"It basically is an interference with rights. They used their truck to cut off Ahmaud Arbery’s root, they threatened him with fire arms and in doing so they injured him because he’s an African American man, because of his race and color," Johnson said.

No word on when the trio is expected to meet those charges in federal court.

"He had a right to run down a public highway and they denied him that the most basic right to move freely in one’s community and they denied him that. Every citizen has a right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and today the justice department weighed in and said Ahmaud Arbery had that right as well and that right was denied on February 23, 2020," Johnson said.


Ahmaud Arbery

Attorneys representing Travis McMichael told The Associated Press they were upset "that the Justice Department bought the false narrative that the media and state prosecutors have promulgated."

"There is absolutely nothing in the indictment that identifies how this is a federal hate crime and it ignores without apology that Georgia law allows a citizen to detain a person who was committing burglaries until police arrive," attorneys Bob Rubin and Jason Sheffield told the AP.

The attorney for William "Roddie" Bryan released the following statement:

"We are very disappointed with the decision of the Department of Justice to pursue the prosecution of Mr. Bryan. Roddie Bryan has committed no crime. We look forward to a fair and speedy trial, and to the day when Mr. Bryan is released and reunited with his family."

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