Following their involvement in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Travis McMichael (35) his father Gregory McMichael, 65, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, were indicted on hate crime charges by a federal grand jury in Georgia last week. All three men have now pleaded not guilty to the charges, as well as to attempting kidnapping charges.

Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan appeared in court yesterday, where they faced both a federal judge and several of Ahmaud Arbery's family members. A CNN report notes that the three wore orange jumpsuits and were shackled around the ankles.

Travis & Gregory McMichaels, Glynn County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

In addition to the aforementioned, the three men have been charged with murder and several additional charges. Both MicMichaels pleaded not guilty to malice and felony murder charges, as well as aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. William Bryan pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment and felony murder. 

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was fatally shot in February 2020. Footage of his death went on to spark national outrage. The McMichaels and Bryan's defense team have maintained that they were conducting a citizen's arrest, citing self-defense. 

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Speaking on the new hate crime charges, Arbery family attorney offered the following statement: "I appreciate that the judge, although it was waived by the defendants, took the time to walk through the charges and the facts to show how closely the facts of this case mirror actual hate crime charges which are difficult to reach in the US in a federal setting."

"This is an important milestone in America's uphill march toward racial justice, and we applaud the Justice Department for treating this heinous act for what it is -- a purely evil, racially motivated hate crime," adds Ben Crump, another attorney of the Arbery family. 

The state trial is set to begin on October 18th.

[via]