Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging when he was shot and killed as he ran along a street in Brunswick in February last year.
Former police officer Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, were each charged on Wednesday with interference with rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels are also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
The criminal case charging the three men in connection with Arbery’s death is the most significant civil rights prosecution undertaken by the Biden administration Justice Department to date.
It comes as federal officials have moved quickly to open sweeping investigations into troubled police departments as civil rights takes center stage among the department’s priorities.
Arbery’s death sparked fury after his murder was caught on video and went viral on social media in May 2020, some 10 weeks after he was killed. Many expressed outrage at the time that no one had been arrested in that time.
Later, all three men were charged in state court with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit a felony. All three pleaded not guilty. A trial date for the state charges has not yet been set.