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Ahmaud Arbery verdict reached 9 years after the deaths of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin

One District Attorney and social justice activist said the three verdicts showcase the evolution of the racial justice movement.

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — Lucy McBath, current representative of the 6th district of Georgia honored her late son, Jordan Davis on Twitter on Nov. 23, 2021. 

Tuesday marked nine years since the 17-year-old was shot and killed by Michael Dunn over an argument about loud music at a Jacksonville gas station. 

The day after her post, the jury reached a verdict in the death of Ahmaud Arbery case, finding Travis McMichael guilty on all charges including malice murder, and finding Greg McMichael and Roddie Bryan guilty of felony murder

Almost two years before the verdict was reached, on Feb. 24, 2020, Arbery, 25, was jogging in a south Georgia neighborhood near Brunswick in Glynn County when he was shot and killed. 

Arbery’s shooting occurred just three days before what would have been the 8th anniversary of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida in 2012. George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin was acquitted of charges relating to his death in 2012. 

Davis and Martin were both 17 and from Florida, having been killed only a few months apart. District Attorney and Social Justice Activist Gregory Griggs called these “hallmark cases” that have been elevated to their stature due to "racism that played behind them."

“I think that the similarities, again, are the use of guns, or the use of guns in the defense of a way of life, which is antithetical to the freedoms and justice and protections in America,” Griggs added. 

One of the few things that stand out to Griggs is the convictions that were given to the killers of Arbery, Martin, and Davis. Convictions that, for Griggs, showcase the evolution of the racial justice movement.

“Unlike the other two cases where there was not a conviction, or there might have not been maximum time, the jury did a good job of holding the actions of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and Ronnie Bryan with the verdict they sent down yesterday,” he said. 

Griggs calls the conviction in the Arbery case a "racial reckoning." He added that the verdict is a blueprint moving forward of how to effectively organize structural, legal, and political power for the betterment of the community. 

Sentencing for the Arbery case will begin in November, then the three men will appear in court once again--at the federal courthouse in Brunswick--to be tried on hate crimes charges.

A federal judge scheduled the trial to begin Feb. 7, with jury selection.  

“The first step is over, I believe the Arbery family can start healing now,” Griggs said.