Prosecutors lay out history of racist comments from defendants in Arbery hate crimes trial

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — WARNING: The messages may be hard to read, but we are sharing them to be transparent about how prosecutors are building the hate crimes case.


Prosecutors in the hate crimes trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery spent hours Wednesday showing racists messages from the three defendants.

The jurors also watched videotaped testimony of the man who owned the construction site where Arbery was spotted running from.

Arbery’s family told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas they were disgusted by what they saw Wednesday, but they were standing firm in their contention that the world needs to hear the views of the three men convicted of killing the unarmed black jogger nearly two years ago.

“They showed this. Ain’t something that just started with them being hateful. It goes way back. So it’s telling you it’s a history with them,” Arbery’s aunt Diana Jackson said.

“They hate it just because of Black color,” Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery Sr. said.

Federal prosecutors tried to bolster their hate crimes case with a series of texts and social media posts by Travis McMichael, his father Greg and Roddie Bryan.

Travis McMichael sat quietly as prosecutors showed messages where he referred to Black people as subhuman savages and texted a friend in 2019 about meeting at a restaurant, saying it needed to change the name from Cracker barrel to “(N-word) Bucket.”

Prosecutors also played a video shared by Travis of a Black child dancing on a TV show where a song called “Alabama (N-word)” was played over it.

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That really hit Arbery Sr. hard.

“That kid ain’t done nothing to you. You hate that baby too because he’s Black. Man, that’s a sickness,” Arbery Sr. said.

Prosecutors also highlighted messages from Roddie Bryan on Martin Luther King Day in 2019.

In message to a friend on WhatsApp, Bryan said, “I’m working so all the (n-words) can take off. Happy milk day.”

One year later, on MLK Day in 2020, and one month before Ahmaud’s death, Bryan messaged a friend, saying, “I bet you are all having a monkey parade over there.”

“We look across at their faces, we look at their faces. And we don’t see remorse,” said Barbara Arnwine with the Transformative Justice Coalition.

Defense attorneys are not denying the racist messages, but say none of them played a role in Arbery’s death.

Leigh McMichael, Greg’s wife and Travis’s mother, was in court Wednesday, but has refused to talk publicly about the case so far.

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