In the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black jogger who was killed by three white men, two of the three are appealing their federal hate crime convictions. They claim there was no evidence that the government proved the white men chased Arbery because of his race.
In 2021, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan were convicted of murder in a Georgia court and sentenced to life in prison.
All three were found guilty in their subsequent federal trial of interference with rights, a federal hate crime, and attempted kidnapping, while the McMichaels were also found guilty on weapons charges. Both the father and son were sentenced to life in prison, and Bryan was sentenced to 35 years, to be served along with the state sentence.
Bryan McMichael and Gregory McMichael both argue that prosecutors failed to prove that they acted the way they did "because of" Arbery's race and color.
"The evidence against Bryan did not present a man who saw the world through a prism of racism. He was not obsessed with African Americans such as his codefendant Travis McMichael", wrote Bryan's Defense attorney J. Pete Theodocion.
"There is simply not sufficient evidence in the record to suggest Bryan would have acted any differently on the day in question had Arbery been white, Hispanic, Asian or other," the attorney wrote. "Every crime committed against an African American is not a hate crime. Every crime committed against an African American by a man who has used racist language in the past is not a hate crime."
The sheer audacity of the McMichaels and Bryan, who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in cold blood, to try to argue that their crimes weren't motivated by racism. What happened to Ahmaud Arbery was a modern-day lynching, and no amount of arguments or counterpoints can ever prove otherwise.