Community leaders in Metro Detroit react to guilty verdicts in Ahmaud Arbery murder trial

Ahmaud Arbery murdered in 2020

“That sends a sign of relief to everybody,” said Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III.

DETROIT – Three men were convicted of murder Wednesday in the February 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

Ahmaud Arbery was running empty-handed through a Georgia subdivision when the white strangers chased him, trapped him on a quiet street and killed him with a shotgun.

Read: 3 men charged in Ahmaud Arbery’s death convicted of murder

“That sends a sigh of relief to everybody,” Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III said.

Ellis leads Greater Grace Temple on Detroit’s west side. He said he was glued to the TV on Wednesday when the verdict for the murder came down.

“When I heard that the jury was in. I thought it would be guilty. I didn’t know if all counts for all three. But I knew it would be guilty and I was glad to see it,” Ellis said.

Ellis was with around 300 other pastors and ministers, including Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, who all traveled to Brunswick, Georgia. They gathered on the steps of the courthouse to pray for justice.

“When it’s all said and done, while this verdict sends ripple effects throughout the world of people who just want to live their life and enjoy life without worrying about who’s watching you and who’s going to accost you or hunt you down. I don’t use that word lightly. But at the end of the day. I saw a mom and dad. I saw a family that was emotionally drained,” Ellis said.

CEO of the NAACP Derrick Johnson released the following statement about the verdict:

“The verdict in the trial over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery is long overdue. Ahmaud Arbery’s death was unnecessary and fueled by racist ideologies deeply engrained into the fabric of this nation. Generations of Black people have seen this time and time again, with the murder of Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, and many others. The actions and events perpetrated by the McMichaels and William Bryan leading up to Ahmaud’s death reflect a growing and deepening rift in America that will be its undoing if not addressed on a systemic level. We must fix what is genuinely harming our nation: white supremacy. To address and begin to repair the harm and trauma caused by centuries of racism, violence, and murder, we need stronger federal and state actions to address and eliminate outdated racist policies, like citizens’ arrest.

Although we still grieve the senseless murder of Ahmaud, today, we stand in solidarity with the family and Brunswick community and celebrate the guilty verdict that will bring some comfort and sense of justice to Mr. Arbery’s family, friends, and community.”