At the presentation on Tuesday, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said, “The toughest part is knowing he is no longer with me.”
She referred to the new hate crime statute in Georgia and the removal of the state’s citizen’s arrest law from 1863 as examples of the change that Ahmaud had brought about after his departure.
As Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street was revealed, the audience shouted and chanted “Mention his name! Arbery, Ahmaud”
“I am grateful the city of Brunswick took this action to change the name of a major public street,” Cooper-Jones said in a statement to news channels on Wednesday. “As the criminal case of the men responsible for his murder concludes this gesture will help me and my family realize our key goal of ensuring Ahmaud’s name is never forgotten!”
The ceremony took place one day after the three white men convicted of federal hate crimes in connection to Arbery’s death received their sentences.
Gregory McMichael, 66, who chased Arbery, and his son, Travis McMichael, 36, who fired the fatal shot two years ago, were sentenced Monday to life in prison. The McMichaels’ neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, who joined the chase and recorded video, was sentenced to 35 years.
Arbery was killed in Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020. When the McMichaels saw Arbery jogging in their neighborhood, they chased him, falsely believing the Black man had been responsible for several break-ins. Bryan joined the chase in his own truck, blocking Arbery from escaping, and recorded video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery after a brief struggle.
Prosecutors released text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan repeatedly used racist slurs. Witnesses also testified to hearing Greg and Travis McMichaels make racist comments.
Bryan and the McMichaels were already serving life in prison after being found guilty of state murder charges last fall. The McMichaels were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole while Bryan was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.