Washington, D.C., February 22, 2022 - Today, Brady applauds the ‘guilty’ verdict in the federal trial of Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan. The defendants were found guilty of all charges, including federal hate crimes and using a firearm during a violent crime. This verdict is further evidence of the heinous crimes committed by the defendants and comes just one day before the two-year anniversary of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder.
Brady Senior Counsel and Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:
“This verdict is another chance for Ahmaud Arbery’s family to hold his killers accountable and, considering that Black and community activists brought attention to his murder for months before any action was taken, a true illustration of the power of grassroots action.
Today’s verdict also comes as data and evidence on an increase in hate crimes validates calls from everyday Americans across racial and ethnic groups, who have shared reports of hateful and violent confrontation. Reports show that there were more hate crimes recorded in 2020 than at any point over the last decade. Ahmaud Arbery’s is far more than a statistic, but his murder was one of 7,759 reported hate crimes in 2020. As his murder shows, the combination of racial animus and deadly weapons is lethal. It is too late for Ahmaud Arbery, but this trial must be a wake up call for lawmakers that we need stronger protections to disarm hate and keep all Americans safe from violent and hate-motivated crime.”
About The Intersection of Hate Crimes and Gun Violence:
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a hate crime is a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” According to the latest FBI Data, 64 percent of all hate crimes reported in 2020 were motivated by a bias against race, ethnicity or ancestry.
Hate crimes and racially-motivated attacks are made more deadly when combined with a firearm, as illustrated by numerous mass shootings such as in El Paso in 2018, Charleston in 2015, and Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. Solutions exist to ensure that individuals convicted of a hate crimes misdemeanor, or who received a sentencing enhancement for hate or bias in the commission of a misdemeanor, are disallowed from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Currently, a gap in federal law permits this individuals to legally obtain firearms, creating grave concerns for public safety and the safety of minority communities, specifically, nationwide.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.