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How officials are reacting to verdicts in Arbery slaying

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 3:07 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Officials at the state and national levels quickly released statements Wednesday after the three men charged in the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of murder, to varying degrees.

Here’s a sampling of the reaction:

Sen Raphael Warnock:

“Today’s verdict upholds a sense of accountability, but not true justice. 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. Ahmaud should be with us today. I am grateful to the jury for their service and for a verdict that says Ahmaud Arbery’s life mattered. He was a son, a nephew, a child of God and he did not deserve to die in this way. I will continue working and praying for true justice and for the family as they continue to grieve and begin the long and difficult journey towards healing.”

Sen Jon Ossoff:

“I extend again my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the Arbery family and my gratitude to the jury and court for their service. Ahmaud Arbery was a young man whose life was stolen from him, from his family, from the many who knew and loved him, and from the countless lives he would have touched in decades to come. Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers will be held accountable, but a historic civil rights mobilization was necessary for the killers to face prosecution at all. There was nearly impunity for this murder, and further investigation is necessary to determine how and why officials initially refused to pursue the case. The circumstances of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder and the struggle required to secure a prosecution demonstrate profoundly the urgency of reforms to make equal justice real in America.”

President Joe Biden:

“Ahmaud Arbery’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country. Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery. Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished. While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin. 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.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp:

“Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of a vigilantism that has no place in Georgia. As legal efforts continue to hold accountable all who may be responsible, we hope the Arbery family, the Brunswick community, our state, and those around the nation who have been following his case can now move forward down a path of healing and reconciliation.”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr:

“The loss of Ahmaud Arbery was a tragedy that should have never occurred. Today’s verdict brings us one step closer to justice, healing and reconciliation for Ahmaud’s family, the community, the state and the nation.”

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump:

“Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if Ahmaud’s killers would be held to account, the Arbery family finally has some justice. Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul. While today is not one for celebration, it is one for reflection. This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed...the violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness. But yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice. Today certainly indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line. America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right. And never stop running for Ahmaud.”

African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Reginald Jackson:

“During a time in our country’s history where equity and injustice remain the central issue for the African American community, we are relieved and thankful for today’s decision by the Brunswick jury. This jury showed that justice can still prevail in our great democracy and that facts matter. Even in the haze of the defense’s lies and fabrications, there are key facts we now know to be true. First and foremost, if it was not for the faithful and determined efforts of the Arbery family, this day would have never come. Each of us are in debt to them and grateful for their strength, determination, and faith. Mr. Arbery has become a part of all of our families and we will never forget that he was, and will always be, the true victim in this case. The second is that today is a day of needed accountability for three criminals who have shown little respect for the rule of law. Third, this jury needs to be commended for faithfully bringing justice to our State and confirming for all of us that black lives do matter. Today, we focus and unite in prayer for the Arbery family and hope this decision brings not only thanks, but begins providing some needed peace to the terrible events they have been forced to suffer through during the last number of months.”

Rev. Melvin Ivey, Augusta NAACP President:

“Justice would have been he never was murdered. That would’ve been justice. But to hold the people accountable for his death I think that is to a degree justice.”

Dr. Beulah Nash-Teachey, NAN of the CSRA President:

“I was ecstatic, not just for myself but for the community. We know that justice is not always in our sight but with this case it’s important because from our perspective how could that happen? We can not be free to just walk down a street and be curious.”

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