BRANSWIK, GA (AP) – A police officer on Thursday in federal court on hate crimes against three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbury testified that a 25-year-old man repeatedly entered a house under construction but took nothing.
Glyn County Police Officer Robert Rush took office after an FBI analyst testified Wednesday that two of the defendants often used racial insults at U.S. District Court in the port city of Brunswick. Arbury was fatally shot near the city limits nearly two years ago. The white people who persecuted him did not plead guilty to violating his civil rights and targeted him because he was black.
Rush said the owner of the unfinished house sent him video from the security camera of a young black man, later identified as Arbury, and a white couple entering the construction site a few months before Arbury’s death. The officer said that if he joined with any of them, he would warn them that the homeowner did not want them to be on the property and that if they were found there again, they would be arrested for the offense.
Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael knew that a young black man had been spotted in the unfinished house. When Arbury ran past their home on February 23, 2020, five doors away from the property, they grabbed a gun and chased Arbury in a pickup truck. Neighbor William “Roddy” Brian joined the chase and recorded a video in which Travis McMichael blew up Arbury with a gun.
No arrests were made until two months later a video appeared on the Internet, and Arbery’s murder became part of a larger national debate over racial injustice.
All three were found guilty of murder last fall in a Georgian state court and sentenced to life in prison.
FBI analyst Amy Vaughn testified that Travis McMichael repeatedly used the word N and other racist insults in text messages and social media in the months and years before the murder. These included posts describing violence against black people.
Greg McMichael posted a meme on Facebook saying that “Irish slaves” in America were abused more than any other group in the country’s history, but investigators were unable to download evidence from his encrypted cell phone.
Brian also used insults in a number of emails, including several sent on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, mocking a celebration dedicated to the leader of civil rights.
Defenders condemned their racist reports as insulting and vulnerable, but said their deadly pursuit was motivated by a serious, albeit erroneous, suspicion that Arbury had committed the crimes.