President Biden, who was widely criticized for disagreeing with the acquittal of shooting defendant Kyle Rittenhouse, said Wednesday the convictions in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery show the justice system is “doing its job.”
“Ahmaud Arbery’s killing – witnessed by the world on video – is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “While the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin.”
A jury in Georgia convicted three White men — Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William Bryan — of murder in the shooting of Mr. Arbery, who was Black, as he ran through their neighborhood in February 2020.
“Mr. Arbery should be here today, celebrating 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 to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished.”
He said his administration “will continue to do the hard work to ensure that equal justice under law is not just a phrase emblazoned in stone above the Supreme Court, but a reality for all Americans.”
When a jury last week acquitted Mr. Rittenhouse, 18, in the shooting deaths of two men during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020, Mr. Biden said he was “angry and concerned.” But he said the jury system works.
He had characterized the teenager in a campaign video last year as a white supremacist. After the trial, Mr. Rittenhouse said the president defamed him.
The White House suggested this week that Mr. Biden has no intention of apologizing to Mr. Rittenhouse.