Three white men were found guilty of murder and other charges and are all facing life in prison for the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, in Brunswick, Georgia on Feb. 23, 2020.
Arbery was on a jog when father and son Travis McMichael and Greg McMichael and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Brian, pursued him and Travis McMichael, 35, shot and killed him. The McMichaels claimed they believed Arbery was a fleeing burglar — but the prosecution said there was no evidence Arbery had committed any crimes in the neighborhood, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Federal authorities have also charged the men with hate crimes, alleging the motivation behind their chasing and killing of Arbery was because he was Black, according to the AP. That case is set to go to trial in February 2022.
It took officials several weeks to charge the men after the shooting, and Arbery’s death was one of the motivators behind calls for racial justice during the summer of 2020, along with the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and others.
Protests made their way into the streets of Chicago and onto Loyola’s campus, with students demanding the university address the Black Lives Matter movement and better support students of color.
Hours after the verdict was read in the Arbery trial, Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney sent an email to the Loyola community saying the outcome of the case represents “justice served.”
“While nothing will bring Mr. Arbery back, today’s verdict represents justice served and, hopefully, a bit of peace for his family and loved ones,” Rooney wrote in the Nov. 24 email. “None of us should ever have to fear for our lives by going for a run or walk. As a society, we must have greater respect for life and one another.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also weighed in on the outcome of the trial, urging Chicagoans to express their emotions “peacefully and with respect for the law.”
“He was killed for no reason other than the color of his skin, and regardless of the accountability that his killers now face — that fact speaks volumes about how far we have yet to go,” Lightfoot said in a statement posted to social media.
The end of this trial comes just days after the conclusion of another closely-watched trial. Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts Nov. 19 after shooting and killing two men and wounding a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020.
On Nov. 20, a day after Rittenhouse’s verdict was announced, hundreds of protestors marched through downtown Chicago voicing their frustration with the outcome, The Phoenix reported.