Al Sharpton Says Almost All-White Jury in Arbery Case Decided 'Black Lives Do Matter'

Speaking outside a courthouse in Glynn County, Georgia, Reverend Al Sharpton said Wednesday's guilty verdict in the case of Ahmaud Arbery's murder signaled that the almost all-white jury decided that "Black lives do matter."

"A jury of 11 whites and one Black, in the Deep South, stood up in the courtroom and said that Black lives do matter," Sharpton said at a press conference.

Leading the group in prayer, Sharpton said "[God] came in the state of Georgia—a state known for segregation, a state known for Jim Crow—and you turned it around. You took a young, unarmed boy...and you put his name in history."

"Years from now, decades from now, they'll be talking about a boy named Ahmaud Arbery that taught this country what justice looks like," he added.

The jury reached a relatively quick verdict on Wednesday, given the number of defendants and the fact that each defendant faced multiple felony counts. After roughly ten and a half hours of deliberations, the jury found all three defendants guilty of felony murder.

Travis McMichael was found guilty on all nine counts he faced.

Greg McMichael was acquitted on one count of malice murder, but found guilty on the other eight charges. William "Roddie" Bryan was acquitted on one count each of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault, but found guilty on the other six charges.

Al Sharpton Ahmaud Arbery Black Lives Matter
Rev. Al Sharpton, center, with Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, left, attorney Lee Merritt, second from left, attorney Ben Crump, right and Marcus Arbery, father of Ahmaud Arbery, leads a prayer outside the Glynn County Courthouse after the trial of the killers of Arbery on November 24, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia. Sean Rayford/Stringer

Sharpton thanked everyone who marched in the Black Lives Matter protests demanding justice for Arbery and his family and for marching and rallying outside of the courthouse, despite comments from the defendants' defense attorneys referring to them as a "lynch mob."

"They kept on marching and let us know that all whites are not racists and all the Blacks are not worthless," he said.

The trial in Georgia has drawn crowds of people demanding a guilty verdict in the death of Arbery, including an influx of Black pastors who poured into the city of Brunswick after one of the defense attorneys raised issue with the number of Black pastors, like Sharpton, who accompanied the Arbery family during the trial.

Sharpton added that while Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday will still be a somber holiday for the Arberys, with an empty chair at the table for Ahmaud, his mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones "can look at that chair and say to Ahmaud, 'I fought a good fight and I brought you some justice.'"

"Even though it will be a somber and solemn Thanksgiving, you can thank God you didn't let your boy down," Sharpton told the Arbery family.