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I asked Wanda Cooper-Jones what message does this send to local DA who initially passed on prosecuting the men who murdered her son Ahmaud Arbery, “You covered up a hate crime.” Ben Crump added, “Jackie Johnson, you’re next.” #AhmaudArbery pic.twitter.com/tBlwV5w7xn

— Nick Valencia (@CNNValencia) February 22, 2022

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump sent the reminder that there is still more to be done after the verdict was read on Tuesday. “It’s this incestuous culture between police officers and prosecutors that let far too many Black people in America be unjustly killed,” he said in Brunswick. “And then they try to cover everything up and so the cover-up is having blood on Jackie Johnson’s hands as well.”

Crump had these words for the ex-prosecutor in a CNN interview: “You covered up a hate crime. Jackie Johnson, you’re next.”

Former Brunswick DA Jackie Johnson directed officers not to initially arrest Travis McMichael for #AhmaudArbery‘s unjust death! Ahmaud’s blood is on her hands for attempting to grossly cover up his death — she still needs to be held accountable! https://t.co/0T1266Lhf5

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) February 24, 2022

The specific charges Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of were interference with rights and attempted kidnapping. All three defendants were charged with unlawfully seizing and confining Arbery “by chasing after him in their trucks in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will, and prevent his escape.”

Travis faced an added count for carrying, brandishing, and discharging a Remington shotgun, and Gregory faced an additional count for using and carrying a .357 Magnum revolver. All three men were found guilty of all charges against them.

The murder began when Travis and Gregory McMichael armed themselves with guns, got into a truck, and chased 25-year-old Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020 through the Satilla Shores neighborhood in South Georgia after accusing Arbery of breaking into a home under construction in the community, according to afederal indictment. The McMichaels had seen Arbery running near the home and proceeded to yell at him, “using their truck to cut off his route, and threatening him with firearms”until Travis ultimately fired two shotgun rounds into the Black former high school football standout. Bryan recorded the shooting and at times, used his truck to block Arbery’s route.

In the course of the federal case against the McMichaels and Bryan, it was revealed that the men had a well-documented history of disparaging remarks about Black people before going on to hunt down and kill a Black man.

Gregory McMichael, a former prosecutorial investigator, allegedly wished the late Georgia state representative and civil rights leader Julien Bond dead sooner.“I wish that guy had been in the ground years ago,” he reportedly told a New York real estate agent,according to testimonyNews 4 Jax covered. “All those Blacks are nothing but trouble and I wish they’d all die.”

Travis called a woman who served under him in the U.S. Coast Guard about a decade ago “an N-word lover” after learning she had been “sexually active with an African American man,” the woman testified. And Bryan reportedly wrote in an online post that his daughter “doesn’t give a f— about herself” because she had dated a Black man, an FBI analyst testified.

These are the men that it took authorities 74 days—and in Bryan’s case longer—to arrest despite Bryan’s video of the crime, which was submitted to authorities the day of Arbery’s death. 

Johnson, the applicable prosecutor at the time,recused herselffrom the case because Gregory McMichael used to work as an investigator in her office, but she also involved Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill to act in her stead. His son worked in the same office. Barnhill wroteinhis eventual recusal letterthat the Arbery family “are not strangers to the local criminal justice system,” according toThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Barnhill also reportedly told the Glynn County Police Department on Feb. 24 that “he did not see grounds for the arrest of any of the individuals involved in Mr. Arbery’s death.”

“That’s not justice for Ahmaud.”

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother called out the DOJ for attempting a plea deal with his murderers: “They were made to do their job today … They didn’t have a son that was lying in a cold grave, and they still didn’t hear my cry.” pic.twitter.com/E8MBOjMkyJ

— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 22, 2022

And just like that, the murderers went free, but because of the perseverance of Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, it was only for a while. “What we got today, we wouldn’t have gotten today if it wasn’t for the fight that the family put up,” Cooper-Jones said during a press conference about the federal verdict.

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, was the driving force behind every element of accountability for her son’s murder. As she made clear, we must demand that the laws in our states and of our nation do their work on behalf of every American.pic.twitter.com/RjcWxRYDqO

— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) February 23, 2022

The McMichaels had all but pleaded guilty to one federal count against them last week in talks with prosecutors about a plea deal that would allow them to serve the first 30 years of their sentences in federal custody. U.S. District Judge Lisa GodbeyWood rejected the deal after hearing from Arbery’s family, who insisted the men serve their sentences in a tougher state facility.“Granting these men their preferred conditions of confinement will defeat me,”Cooper-Jonestold Wood. “It gives them one last chance to spit in my face after murdering my son.”

RELATED:‘I wish they’d all die’: Trial for Arbery exposes vile racism and it’s not the only ‘despicable’ one

This content was originally published here.

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