Three men charged with hate crimes in Arbery case

U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday charged three white men with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was gunned down while out jogging last year.

The Justice Department said that former police officer Gregory McMichael, his son Travis, and William "Roddie" Bryan were each charged with one count of interference with rights - and one count of attempted kidnapping.

Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with using firearms to carry out acts of violence in last February's fatal shooting, which lawyers for Arbery's family have likened to a lynching.

Attorneys for the McMichaels were not immediately available for comment.

Bryan's attorney said he was "disappointed" by the case and said his client "has committed no crime."

The new charges come as the Biden administration has stepped up enforcement of federal civil rights laws.

All three men already face criminal trials in the state of Georgia on charges of murder and assault, but a timeline hasn't been set.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Arbery was involved in a string of neighborhood burglaries when they spotted him running in the street, then chased him down to make a citizen's arrest.

Bryan captured the killing on video, then handed the footage to investigators before it went viral on social media in May.

The footage showed Arbery jogging down a two-lane street, before being confronted and shot by two armed men who stopped their pickup truck in his path.

Bryan's lawyers have insisted he was merely a witness to the crime.

Arbery's case, along with the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May, fueled protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the country.