A white father and son accused of murdering a black jogger while he ran through their neighborhood have had federal hate crimes charges added to their rap sheet.
Gregory McMichael, 65, and his son Travis, 35, from Brunswick in Georgia, were charged with interference of civil rights and attempted kidnapping on Wednesday over the February 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery, 25.
The McMichaels’ friend William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 51, who filmed their fatal confrontation with the armed jogger, has also been hit with the same federal charge. Bryan also faces state murder charges over Arbery’s killing.
The father and son have also been hit with a separate federal charge of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. Prosecutors allege the men’s crimes against Arbery were motivated by the color of his skin.
Wednesday’s announcement represents the most significant civil rights prosecution of Joe Biden’s government, with the president repeatedly vowing to crack down on systemic racism in the US.
It comes as federal officials have moved quickly to open sweeping investigations into troubled police departments as civil rights takes center stage among the department’s priorities.
Arbery was shot dead while jogging through the McMichaels’ neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia.
They accused him of being a burglar, with Bryan said of boxing Arbery in with his truck as the frightened black man tried to get away from the McMichaels.
Travis McMichael fired the fatal shot at Arbery from his shotgun, according to prosecutors.
The McMichels and Bryan all deny felony murder charges, with their lawyers yet to comment on the federal hate crime allegations.
They have all been ordered held in jail ahead of the murder trial, a date for which has not yet been set.
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Source: Daily Mail