Georgia prosecutors say racist posts and text messages written by the white men charged with murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man fatally shot while jogging near his neighborhood earlier this year, should be used at trial as evidence.
In recent court filings, prosecutors said the text messages and posts should be allowed at trial as “proof of motive.”
Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan face felony murder charges for chasing down 25-year-old Arbery on Feb. 23 in two vehicles. The younger McMichael fired the fatal shots.
Attorneys for the McMichaels say the men chased Arbery because they thought he had burglarized a house that was under construction. Police turned up no evidence of stolen materials on the slain man’s person after he was gunned down.
Prosecutors want to use a “racial highway video Facebook post,” “a Racial Johnny Rebel Facebook post” and a racial text message, all of which were either posted or sent last year by Travis McMichael.
In addition, they want to use a “Identity Dixie Facebook post” and a “Racial Johnny Rebel Facebook post” at trial against Greg McMichael. Prosecutors are also seeking to be allowed to use texts in which Bryan repeatedly used the N-word.
Bryan allegedly told a GBI investigator he heard Travis McMichael call Arbery a “f—ing n-word,” after shooting him. The McMichaels’ attorneys told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that Bryan could not have heard their client make any statements and said the father and son didn’t chase Arbery because he was Black.
Prosecutors have also asked that bad character evidence against Arbery, including past convictions and mental health history, be inadmissible in court.
More than two months passed between Arbery’s death and the arrest of the three men involved. Only after video footage of the incident surfaced, sparking national outrage, were arrests made.
No trial date has been set, and the McMichaels and Bryan remain in jail.