The three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery had a history of using racial slurs, prosecutors argued on Monday (Feb. 14). The federal hate crime trial for Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. – the three white men who chased down and killed Arbery in 2020 – continued this week.
According to federal prosecutors, Travis once texted a friend saying he loved his new job because he worked with “zero” Black people, using the N-word. He also messaged a friend saying a video of a Black man lighting a firecracker in his nose would have been “cooler” if the man’s head had blown off, also using the N-word.
Prosecutors also said that Gregory once told a colleague, “Those Blacks are all nothing but trouble,” while discussing the 2015 death of activist Julian Bond. Just days before Arbery’s death, Bryan also got angry after learning that his daughter was dating a Black man. According to prosecutors, Bryan used a racial slur to describe the man.
Federal prosecutor Bobbi Bernstein, who addressed the jury on Monday, also noted that white people were seen entering the same house that Arbery had gone inside, though they were not pursued by the McMichaels or Bryan.
“If Ahmaud Arbery had been white, he’d have gone for a jog, checked out a cool house that was under construction and been home in time for Sunday dinner. Instead, he ended up running for his life,” Bernstein said.
After being convicted of murdering Arbery; Travis, Gregory and Bryan were all sentenced to life in prison last month. Father and son Travis and Gregory were both sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, while Bryan was given the possibility of parole.
The judge believes the three men’s federal hate crime trial will last between seven and 12 days.