BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WSAV) — The three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery are already serving life sentences for murder. Tuesday, justice continued when the trio was found guilty at the federal hate crimes trial.
“They were convicted in the previous trial and to come back on a federal level and to be convicted Georgia has truly done the right thing,” says Georgia State Representative Carl Gilliard.
Representative Carl Gilliard pushed for a hate crimes bill in the state before Arbery’s murder. Gilliard believes the publicity of his death is what sparked the passage of the bill in June, 2020.
The bill enhanced penalties to someone who targets a victim based on their race, religion, gender, disability, and more.
“Now what has happened is that the justice system has given justice to not just the Ahmaud Arbery family but to the nation,” said Gilliard. “If we’re truly a State that’s too busy to hate we have to look at the laws and the power of the pen and to be able to use those laws to say never again.”
Gilliard told WSAV there’s still work to be done and more hate crimes legislation will be discussed this week.
“What happened to Ahmaud Arbery was a lynching. And so we are filing the original 33 bill which deals with the cold cases, lynching cases in Georgia,” says Gilliard. “From the 1800s to up until the current 1900s.”
Gilliard said the bill aims to remember those who did not receive justice.