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President Biden weighed in on the guilty verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery case, celebrating the verdict while warning the country still had work to do to achieve “racial justice.”
“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,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Biden’s comments come after jurors in Brunswick, Georgia, on Wednesday found Travis McMichael and his father Greg McMichael guilty on all counts in the killing of Arbery.
Travis McMichael was found guilty of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.
Greg McMichael was also found guilty on four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. Jurors found him not guilty on charges of malice murder.
Ahmaud Arbery poses for a senior photo. (Yolanda Richardson/FuzzyRabbit Fotos via AP, File) (AP)
William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichael’s who joined in on their pursuit of Arbery, was found guilty of felony murder and aggravated assault.
Biden’s celebratory tone stands in stark contrast to his reaction to the recent verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, which Biden said “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included.”
But Biden also said that everyone “must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”
From left, Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP, File) (Glynn County Detention Center via AP, File)
But Biden said a guilty verdict in the Arbery case was not enough to ensure racial justice, arguing that the country should now “recommit” itself to unity.
“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,” Biden’s statement said. “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.”