STATEMENT: Verdict in Murder of Ahmaud Arbery Is an Important Step Forward for Racial Equity, Says National Legal Aid & Defender Association

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Release Date: 
Monday, November 29, 2021

CONTACT: Tiara Wood ([email protected])

Verdict in Murder of Ahmaud Arbery Is an Important Step Forward for Racial Equity, Says National Legal Aid & Defender Association

Victory for Equal Justice Achieved Narrowly Through Persistence and Popular Outrage; Further Action Needed to Address Systemic Problems


WASHINGTON – In response to the verdict delivered Wednesday finding three men guilty of felony murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, among other charges, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association issued the following statement:

“The jury’s verdict in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery marks an important moment in the ongoing struggle by Black communities and communities of color to seek and receive justice through the court system.”

“In February 2020, a 25-year-old Black man named Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia. Three white men driving nearby chased down, captured, shot and killed Mr. Arbery, claiming later that they thought he had committed a crime because he was jogging through the neighborhood. The circumstances of this murder in many ways bear strong resemblance to lynchings of Black men for assumed criminality ultimately based on nothing more than the color of their skin.”

“Prosecutors hesitated to bring charges until a wave of popular outrage, spurred by a video of the murder that went viral, forced their hand. As a country, we have a lot of work to do to address the historic and current racism in our society.”

“The verdict against the men who murdered Mr. Arbery is a welcome step forward on racial equity as our society continues to confront the racist and white supremacist underpinnings of so many of our societal and legal institutions.”

“The National Legal Aid & Defender Association reasserts its commitment to centering racial equity in its work to achieve equal treatment, equal access, and equal justice for all in the legal system.”


The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels, playing a leadership role in the creation of public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for civil legal aid and public defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.