Center for Policing Equity on the Convictions in Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder

November 24 2021

Today, the Center for Policing Equity released the following statement on the convictions of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery:

The convictions of Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan provide accountability that is necessary but insufficient. These convictions do not diminish the tragedy that Ahmaud Arbery, his family, and the Brunswick, Georgia, community have experienced.

Arbery’s murderers carried out this targeted, racist act under the guise of civilian policing. But let’s be clear: Arbery was murdered because he was a Black man running through a neighborhood that they decided he did not belong in. We all must have the right to live our lives free from fear and to travel through public spaces without harm, yet these rights did not stop Arbery’s killers from accosting and then executing him despite Arbery being unarmed.

Arbery’s murder was one of many that fueled the largest protests for racial justice in modern U.S. history. In 2020, millions took to the streets to demand an end to senseless violence against Black and Brown communities. And while these verdicts bring closure to our collective grieving — and waiting to see if our systems of criminal punishment will abandon those who are most vulnerable — the fact of these convictions will leave many of us feeling hollow. That is because there is no justice in the law acknowledging that a life that was taken should not have been. There is no remedy in stating the morally obvious. There is only the cold comfort that this time, our laws did not erase the humanity of the life that was taken.

For all of us who want to feel something more than that, the path from here to something closer to justice requires building the systems that make it clear to everyone that “he doesn’t look like he belongs here” can never be a reason to contemplate deadly force. The path from grief to freedom requires institutions and a populous committed to cherishing the lives of those who are here now. And the time to build that path is every day.

Our thoughts are with Arbery’s family, loved ones, the Brunswick community, and all affected by the trauma of this senseless killing.


About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.