COBB COUNTY, Ga. — It was an emotional day for the family of Ahmaud Arbery and the prosecutors who helped build the case against the men who killed him.
Tuesday, a jury returned a guilty verdict in the hate crimes trial against Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor Roddie Bryan. The men had already been convicted of killing Arbery.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke with the special prosecutor brought in to handle the state’s case against the men, Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady.
“Your reaction when you heard the federal verdicts in the Arbery case?” Winne asked Broady.
“I started to tear up. For me, the things that we could not put forth in the state trial, the hatred, the animus from these defendants, all that stuff came out in the federal trial. And to let people see what these men were really like, that was very important for me,” Broady said. “The federal hate crime trial showed that it was much more than that, the hatred that these men held had to be stopped. They had to be held accountable for it.”
Broady said when he became Cobb County District Attorney, he inherited the role as special prosecutor in the state’s prosecution of the McMichaels and Bryan, which culminated last year with life sentences in connection with Arbery’s killing.
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“It has changed my life. It has made me so much more appreciative of the things I fought for as a soldier. Just the movement that we’re seeing here in Georgia tells me that those things I fought for had meaning,” Broady said. “For me as an African American male, to see that the justice system actually works was phenomenal, and that’s the biggest takeaway that I get from these two trials.”
Broady told Winne that the investigation by a team from his office and the detailed investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation turned up evidence of racial dislike, use of the “N-word” and so on that ended up coming out in the federal trial.
“We knew about everything that the feds used in their case. We made the decision that we were going to make this case about right or wrong in the state trial, and we focused on that because what we didn’t want to do was pit us against them. We didn’t want to make it a Black/white thing,” Broady said.
His office told us days ago it scheduled a 2 p.m. vigil for Wednesday, the second anniversary of Arbery’s murder.
“To show love and unity,” Broady said.
“You’re a man of strong Christian faith?” Winne asked Broady.
“Yes,” Broady said.
“What is your takeaway?” Winne asked Broady.
“I was reading first Kings this morning. And one of the things it talks about is that we are constantly in battle with each other. We, as a country, continue to move down that road. We have to do a better job of realizing that we have much more in common than we do differences,” Broady said. “The love that God has for us, he asks us to place that upon one another.”
Broady said in the state trial they basically had to prove Arbery did not commit a crime that day, and he believes the state and federal verdicts may change some people who did not think they were biased but started out believing Arbery had done something wrong and the three men now convicted were in the right.
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