Vice President Kamala Harris said on Wednesday the convictions of three men for the death of Ahmaud Arbery came despite racist tactics used by defense attorneys representing the white defendants.
“These statements send an important message, but the fact remains that we still have work to do,” Ms Harris said in a statement. “The counsel chose to set a tone that labeled the presence of ministers at the trial as harassment and dehumanized a young black man with racist tropes. Despite these tactics, the jury reached its verdict.”
Defense attorney Kevin Gough twice asked Judge Timothy Walmsley to remove Rev. Al Sharpton from the court, saying the civil rights activist was trying to influence the disproportionately white jury. He also complained that activists outside the courthouse were trying to influence the jury with banners and placards, and also objected to the pastors’ meeting.
Ms Harris said Mr Arbery, 25, “was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend. His life had meaning. We will not forget him. We honor him best by continuing the fight for justice.
“The jury made its verdicts and the three defendants were found guilty of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Yet we feel the weight of grief,” the vice president said. “Ahmaud Arbery should live and nothing can take away the pain his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, his father Marcus Arbery and the entire Arbery family and community feel today. I share in that pain.”
• This story is based in part on messages from the wire service.