Three Georgia men were indicted on federal hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery last year, The New York Times reports.
Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was allegedly stalked by the men while jogging near his neighborhood before he was shot and killed.
The suspects, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and neighbor William Bryan, were all charged with violating Arbery’s rights by interfering with his legal right to use a public street because of his race.
The men are also charged with one count of attempted kidnapping.
The McMichaels were each charged with one count of brandishing a firearm.
Travis McMichael is accused of fatally shooting Arbery.
The eight-page indictment said that the men intimidated Arbery “because of Arbery’s race and color.”
“As Arbery was running on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Ga., Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael armed themselves with firearms, got into a truck and chased Arbery through the public streets of the neighborhood while yelling at Arbery, using their truck to cut off his route and threatening him with firearms,” the DOJ said in a statement.
Bryan joined the chase and used his truck to block Arbery, the DOJ added.
DOJ steps up civil rights enforcement:
The indictment comes as the DOJ steps up its focus on civil rights and police abuse cases after Trump’s Justice Department pulled back on such enforcement.
The DOJ has announced sweeping investigations into the Minneapolis and Louisville police departments in response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The DOJ is also expected to charge former Minneapolis Office Derek Chauvin and three other officers on the scene during Floyd’s death with federal charges.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, praised the indictment.
“He was killed because of hate. It was initiated by hate,” she told the Times. “We look at this as one step closer to justice for Ahmaud.”