2 white men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery had a history of using racial slurs in messages, FBI analyst testifies
- 2 white men convicted of killing
Ahmaud Arberyrepeatedly used racial slurs, jurors heard at their federal hate crimestrial.
- In one message, the man who fatally shot Arbery said he loved his job because no Black people worked there, an FBI analyst testified.
FBI analyst Amy Vaughan testified on Wednesday that Travis McMichael — who fatally shot the 25-year-old Black man on February 23, 2020 in the Georgia neighborhood of Satilla Shores — has a history of making both racist and violent comments towards Black people.
Less than a year before Arbery's murder, text messages showed McMichael discussing a new job with a pal and telling the friend that he loved the gig because were no Black people, jurors heard, CNN reported.
"They ruin everything. That's why I love what I do now. Not a [N-word] in sight," McMichael said in the message, Vaughan testified.
In another text conversation a few months before the shooting, McMichael wrote: "We used to walk around committing hate crimes all day," The Washington Post reported.
"I say shoot all of them," McMichael had commented on a Facebook video that showed a group of primarily Black teens attacking a White teenager, the
Vaughan testified that fellow defendant William "Roddie" Bryan also made bigoted comments involving racial slurs and derogatory remarks about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Messages showed that Bryan used the N-word and the derogatory term "bootlip"— his "word of choice," Vaughan said, according to CNN.
Just four days before Arbery's killing, Bryan referred to his daughter's Black boyfriend using the N-word, the court heard.
McMichael's father, Gregory, who is also a defendant, posted a meme on social media back in 2016 that said, "White Irish slaves were treated worse than any other race in the US," The New York Times reported.
"When was the last time you heard an Irishman bitching about how the world owes them a living?" the post continued, Vaughan testified, according to The Washington Post.
Both McMichaels and Bryan were convicted of murdering Arbery in November in a Georgia state court and were sentenced to life in prison. Bryan was the only one given the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors are now trying to prove at the hate crimes trial, which began this week, that the three defendants were motivated by race in their murder of Arbery.
Meanwhile, legal experts told Insider that it would have complicated the state's murder case against the trio of defendants had the prosecution introduced aspects of racial bias.
"I think it was a litigation strategy," Gloria Browne-Marshall, a constitutional law professor at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice said. "They didn't want to have the racial aspect of it be on trial. They wanted the actions of those three individuals to be front and center before the jury."
Browne-Marshall explained, "It was a strategy because they knew how complicated cases become when you add the element of race."
"In a hate crimes case, you have to prove that race was the main motivator of the action," she said, adding that in the state's murder case "you just had to prove this was the action, and it led to death."
Joe Margulies, a civil rights attorney and law and government professor at Cornell University added, "Nothing in the state charges made the defendants' racism legally relevant."
"To admit the racist texts would therefore have been unduly prejudicial," he said.
Margulies also noted that some evidence "is much stronger when it's left unsaid."
The Georgia state prosecutor in the murder case of Arbery "knew full well this case was about race, as did the jury," said Margulies.
"But if she raised that argument, she risked being attacked for playing a legally irrelevant 'race card,'" he said.
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