Nov 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Politicians, activists react to guilty verdicts in Ahmaud Arbery murder

Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Politicians and prominent activists on Wednesday praised the guilty verdict in the trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, but said more needed to be done to fix the nation's judicial system.

Driving the news: All three suspects, who are white, were found guilty in the murder of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was chased and shot while running in February 2020.

What they're saying: “I am grateful the jury has found the three men responsible for the senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery guilty of their crimes," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement.

  • "I am hopeful that this verdict gives Mr. Arbery’s family, and people across America, some level of comfort in knowing that these men are being held accountable," she added.
  • "Today’s verdict upholds a sense of accountability, but not true justice," Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said in a statement after the verdict was announced.
  • "True justice looks like a young Black man not having to worry about being harmed— or killed —while on a jog, while sleeping in his bed, while living what should be a very long life," he added.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump called Arbery’s killing a "lynching" but it was unclear if there would ultimately be justice for the murder.

  • “Today certainly indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line," Crump, who is also the attorney for Arbery's father, said.

"Holding one person accountable doesn't solve the systemic injustice we face — it doesn't treat the root of hatred," Martin Luther King III said in a tweet.

  • People must be held accountable for their actions but the only way we have real change is through a revolution of values."

President Biden said Arbery's killing is a "devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country. "

  • "My administration will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans," he added.

"Black Americans are taking a stand," said Angela Harrelson, George Floyd's aunt and co-founder of the George Floyd Global Memorial, in a statement.

  • "Our lives matter and there’s no turning back," she added. "Now, Ahmaud Arbery can rest in peace."

Our thought bubble via Axios' Russell Contreras: The killing of Arbery, caught on video, came weeks before the death of George Floyd and helped spark a summer of protests over systemic racism.

  • His murder was seen by many Black Americans as a modern lynching in a region where Black men were routinely lynched in the Jim Crow era.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Go deeper