Ahmaud Arbery was 25 years old when he was shot and killed in Georgia on February 23, 2020. Arbery had been jogging in his hometown when a father-son pair armed themselves, got in their truck, and began chasing Arbery and cutting off his running route. A third man in another vehicle later joined in. The men eventually confronted Arbery outside the truck before firing three shots and killing him. The men claimed they believed Arbery had been involved in recent break-ins in the neighborhood. A video of the killing sparked national outrage after it surfaced online and in the media.
Last week, a grand jury charged the three men involved with federal hate crimes for interfering with Arbery’s right to use a public street and attempted kidnapping. The federal indictment alleges that the men committed the offenses because Arbery was black. The father-son duo are also each charged for their use of firearms. The three men also face murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment charges in state court.
State and federal governments have increasingly begun to crack down on hate crimes in recent years. In California, a hate crime is considered any criminal act committed because of an alleged victim’s disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group for the same reasons.
The men charged with murdering Arbery have motion hearings set on May 12th of this year for the state case but have not yet set a trial date. However, the outcome of both the state and federal cases will garner attention worldwide and will likely have a far-reaching impact on the national conversation surrounding race relations in America.
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