Ahmaud Arbery’s mom claims DOJ had to be forced to convict son’s killers of federal hate-crimes

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones has called out the Department of Justice after her son’s three killers were convicted of all federal hate-crime charges


                            Ahmaud Arbery’s mom claims DOJ had to be forced to convict son’s killers of federal hate-crimes
Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones leaves the podium after giving her impact statement to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley on January 7, 2022, in Brunswick (Stephen B Morton-Pool/Getty Images)
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Ahmaud Arbery’s mother has slammed the Department of Justice (DOJ) after her son’s three killers – Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan – were convicted of all federal hate-crime charges. Wanda Cooper-Jones claimed that the guilty verdict came out on Tuesday, February 22, because she fought hard for it before saying, “What the DOJ did today, they were made to do today. It wasn’t because of what they wanted to do. They were made to do their job today.”

In her statement, Cooper-Jones was referring to the time when against the wishes of her and her family, prosecutors reached a plea agreement with all three men. The deal was reached last month under which the McMichaels had agreed to plead guilty to hate crimes charges and get 30 years behind bars in exchange for being shifted to federal prison. But Arbery’s family was against the killers spending their time behind in any federal jails that are known to be more relaxing and better financially supported than state facilities.

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Multiple family members of Arbery took the stand and requested US District Judge Lisa Godbey to not take a decision favoring the deal while the prosecutors pressed against the family’s wish. However, the ruling came out in support of the victim’s family as the judge reportedly said that she was "not willing to be bound by the sentencing terms of the agreement and paving the way for all three killers to proceed to trial.” On Tuesday, after taking almost three hours, a jury declared that all the three men chased and killed Arbery because of his race.

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Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, arrives at the Glynn County Courthouse on November 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

 

After the ruling, Cooper-Jones thanked the DOJ for the result but mentioned that this day would have never come “if it wasn’t for the fight that the family put up”. She said, “I now want to address the members of the DOJ. I’m very thankful that you guys brought these charges of hate crime. But back on January 31 you guys accepted a plea deal with these three murderers who took my son’s life.”

The mother also noted that the prosecutors “ignored my cry” when she urged them to “not take this plea deal”. She stated, “I begged them. Even after the family stood before the judge and asked them, asked the judge to not take this plea deal, the lead prosecutor, Tara Lyons, stood up and asked the judge to ignore the family’s cry. That’s not justice for Ahmaud.” She also said that “the one thing they didn’t have was a son that was lying in a cold grave and they still didn’t hear my cry,” before adding that it’s impossible for her to “heal” from what happened to her son.

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Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation speak at a demonstration on November 24, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

 

Also, just before the trial began on Tuesday, Lee Merritt, the attorney for Arbery’s family, told The Independent, “We want them to confess or for the truth to come out on record that they were motivated by hate. That’s important in the civil rights community. I don’t want to see this victory taken away from Ahmaud’s family and the Brunswick community.”

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Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, talks with the media outside the Glynn County Courthouse on November 8, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

 

Meanwhile, people on Twitter have showered their support and praised Arbery’s mother for her relentless fight against injustice. A user tweeted, “Ahmaud Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper Jones is an American hero!” Janelle Fiona Griffith, a reporter at NBC, wrote, “The role Ahmaud Arbery's mother played in getting justice for her son cannot be understated. She advocated for his death to be taken seriously by local and federal prosecutors — including by denouncing the plea deal that the Justice Department had reached with the McMichaels.”

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One tweet read, "Ahmaud Arbery's mother has handled herself with Grace and Dignity. She deserves recognition for this. Her calm & steady manner has impacted the tenor of this trial. She calmly called for justice & she received justice. There's something to be said for grace and dignity in the U.S.” Another tweet stated, “Wanda Cooper-Jones (Ahmaud Arbery's mother) is coming for every last person who had a hand in her sons murder. The dirty D.A. is next. This woman carries herself with such class. She's what dignity looks like.”

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A person shared, “I am so proud of Ahmaud Arbery’s mother for calling out the DOJ’s attempt to plea out his murders’ federal case. She refused to let that happen & as a result, GA now has it’s first federal civil rights conviction (which is looooong overdue). THANK YOU Wanda Cooper-Jones.” Another one added, “The universe demands too much from black mothers. No man or woman of any color should be asked to be THAT courageous, dignified or (the worst word) resilient at every moment of their life. Glad justice was served, her pain/loss remains 4 sure. Prayers to Ahmaud Arbery’s mother.”

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