Prosecutors argued that three men on trial for federal hate crimes in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery used racial epithets and killed him because he was Black.
Travis McMichael, 36, along with his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, and his neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were all convicted last year for the murder of Arbery. They now face a new trial on whether they targeted Arbery because of his race.
Barbara Bernstein, the Department of Justice’s deputy chief of the civil rights division, told the court on Monday if Arbery had been white, he would have been “been home in time for Sunday supper,” according to Reuters.
“Instead, he went out for a jog, and ended up running for his life. Instead, he ended up bleeding to death, alone and scared, in the middle of the street,” Bernstein added.
Bernstein referenced Travis McMichael’s racist social media posts in which he called Black people “monkeys” and “subhuman savages.”
The prosecution said the 36-year-old had also said he was glad he was no longer in the Coast Guard because he did not have to be around Black people anymore, Reuters added.
Gregory McMichael also “went on a racist rant about Black people,” and Bryan used a racial slur in an online post after he found out his daughter was dating a Black man. Bryan’s post came just four days ahead of Arbery’s killing, the news service reported.
“I can’t stand before you and say my client has never used the ‘N-word’,” Amy Copeland, Travis McMichael’s attorney, told the court.
“He did. He left a digital footprint over several years,” Copeland added, arguing that her client’s concern when Arbery was killed was for theft in his neighborhood.
Special Agent Richard Dial of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is expected to speak to the court as well. Dial previously testified that Bryan told his office Travis McMichael said a racial slur to Arbery as he died, Reuters noted.