Ahmaud Arbery’s vigilante killers get life in prison

Three white vigilantes who used their vehicles to chase down and box in black jogger Ahmaud Arbery before one killed him with shotgun blasts were sentenced to life in prison by a Georgia judge on Friday, January 7, 2022 (read story here).

The gunman, Travis McMichael, 36, was sentenced to life without parole. So was his father, Gregory McMichael, 66, a former police officer and D.A. investigator. An accomplice, William Bryan, 52, will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years (if he lives that long).

State authorities took the case away from local police and prosecutors after they appeared to favor the McMichaels. Details of the shooting, investigations, and trial are here.

In a country where rule of law is being challenged by a rightwing political faction that brandishes guns in public buildings and threatens public officials, and includes many racists in its ranks, the convictions and sentences are not only deserved, but send a message that people can’t take the law into their own hands and vigilanties won’t be tolerated. That’s a small but important step back from the brink of violent anarchy.

If they suspected Arbery of criminal activity, they should have picked up a phone and called the police.

Other would-be vigilantes, and the rightwing armed militias, should take note.

Photo below: The stretch of road where black jogger Ahmaud Arbery was lynched by armed white men on February 23, 2020

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