Factbox: 'Small measure of peace': Reactions to guilty verdict in Arbery trial

Trial over Ahmaud Arbery's killing in Brunswick, Georgia
The prosecution plays a video the jury asked to see as part of their deliberation during the trial of Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, in the Glynn County Courthouse, in Brunswick, Georgia, U.S., November 24, 2021. Stephen B. Morton/Pool via REUTERS

Nov 24 (Reuters) - A Georgia jury convicted three white men of murder on Wednesday for chasing and shooting Ahmaud Arbery as the Black man ran through their mostly white neighborhood in February 2020.

The prosecution was widely watched as another test case of how the U.S. justice system handles the killing of unarmed Black people by white people.

Here are some initial reactions:

  • U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement: "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. 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."
  • Rev. Al Sharpton said outside the Brunswick, Georgia courthouse: "Let the word go forth all over the world that a jury of 11 whites and one black in the Deep South stood up in the courtroom and said that Black lives do matter."
  • Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, said in a statement: "Ahmaud Arbery was the victim of a vigilantism that has no place in Georgia. As legal efforts continue to hold accountable all who may be responsible, we hope the Arbery family, the Brunswick community, our state, and those around the nation who have been following his case can now move forward down a path of healing and reconciliation."
  • Stacey Abrams, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, said on Twitter: "A jury believed the evidence of their eyes and saw the meanness in the killers’ hearts. May this verdict bring a small measure of peace to #AhmaudArbery’s family and loved ones."
  • Chris Carr, attorney general of Georgia, said on Twitter: "The loss of Ahmaud Arbery was a tragedy that should have never occurred. Today’s verdict brings us one step closer to justice, healing and reconciliation for Ahmaud’s family, the community, the state and the nation."
  • Benjamin Crump, attorney for Arbery's father, said in a statement: "After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if Ahmaud’s killers would be held to account, the Arbery family finally has some justice."
  • U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, said on Twitter: "This verdict upholds a sense of accountability, but not true justice. True justice looks like a Black man not having to worry about being harmed—or killed—while on a jog, while sleeping in his bed, while living what should be a very long life."
  • Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty said in a statement: "This story - although devastating - is not new; we’ve seen this play out repeatedly. Vigilantes acting with racial animus take the lives of Black men and boys, and claim self-defense when confronted with the consequences of their action. Justice has been served. However, there is still much to work to be done."
  • Andrea Young, executive director of ACLU Georgia, said in a statement: "With their verdict, the jury rejected the vestige of Jim Crow and the assertion of white supremacy that was at the center of this case."
  • Congresswoman Nikema Williams, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said in a statement: "While these verdicts are one step towards accountability, they will not bring back Ahmaud or the countless other lives we’ve lost at the hands of white supremacy. We must double down on our efforts to fight hatred.”
  • Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., said on Twitter: "#AhmaudArbery should be here. The McMichaels and Bryan are indeed guilty of taking his life for no other reason than for him being Black. I’m praying for and thinking of Ahmaud’s family, including his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, who in this moment, is still missing her son."
Reporting by Nathan Layne, Maria Caspani and Gabriella Borter; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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