President Biden, who has been widely criticized for disagreeing with the acquittal of the shooting of defendant Kyle Rittenhouse, said Wednesday that the convictions for the death of Ahmaud Arbery show that the justice system is “doing its job”.
“The murder of Ahmaud Arbery — witnessed by the world on video — is a devastating reminder of how far we must go in the fight for racial justice in this country,” Biden said in a statement. “While the guilty verdicts reflect that our justice system is doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must renew our commitment to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin.”
A Georgia jury has convicted three white men – Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William Bryan – of murder in the shooting of Mr. Arbery, who was black, while he was running through their neighborhood in February 2020.
“Mr. Arbery should be here today to celebrate the holidays with his mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, and his father, Marcus Arbery,” the president said. “Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and his community but the verdict ensures that those who committed this terrible crime will be punished.”
He said his administration will “continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under the law is not just a phrase set in stone over the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans.”
When a jury last week acquitted Mr. Rittenhouse, 18, of the deaths of two men during the 2020 unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Mr. Biden said he was “upset and concerned.” But he said the jury system works.
He had characterized the teen as a white supremacist in a campaign video last year. After the trial, Mr. Rittenhouse said the president was defaming him.
The White House suggested this week that Mr. Biden has no intention of apologizing to Mr. Rittenhouse.