Arbery was killed after he ran at one of the men who had a gun and tried to take away the gun.
This is a very outrageous and unjust ruling, in my opinion and the opinions of many others.
Not only was the man who actually shot Arbery sentenced to life in prison, but the other two men who were with him were as well.
The man who is least guilty was "only" sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. He had filmed the incident, and later give the video and testimony of what happened to police. This was later used as evidence against them, and likely a guilty verdict would not have even been possible without it.
There is probably a huge amount of bias here against these men, due to the current push in society being created by the news media about outrage over racist killings of black men, in situations involving police or people who are carrying out the type of actions that police do. The bias is not only one of an outrage and trying to seek vengeance against racism, but also probably a bias against the use of physical force, and especially the use of guns, to deal with situations, when those people are trying to protect themselves and property, or stop crimes.
This is a very short summary of the story:
Gregory McMichael and his son Travis got into a pickup truck with guns to follow a young black man they saw running through their neighborhood whom they suspected may have burglarized houses and been responsible for break-ins in the neighborhood. Arbery was not willing to stop and talk to the men, so they continued to follow him in their truck, and Arbery ran at a faster pace to try to get away from them. The chase went past another neighbor's house, William Bryan, who saw the MicMichael's truck chasing the young black man. William Bryan then quickly went into his pickup truck to chase the suspect. At some point into the chase, the McMichael's truck stopped on the road, as Arbery was running towards it, away from the other truck that was chasing him. Gregory McMichael was at that point in the back bed of the pickup truck holding a gun. Arbery was running towards the direction of Travis McMichael, who had just stepped out of the front left driver's side door and was holding a shotgun, but Arbery changed direction and ran along the right side of the truck towards the front of the truck, at the same time Travis McMichael turned and moved towards the front left corner of the truck, facing towards the direction of Arbery. The camera does not get a good view at this point, but it appears Arbery ran at Travis McMichael. A shot can be heard (which hit Arbery), and then Travis can be seen stepping backwards while struggling with Arbery who has his hands on the shotgun, and then Arbery punches Travis.
A personal commentary and assessment of the situation: Due to the situation and the position of the truck in the street, it is understandable why the McMichaels and Arbery did what they did in this situation.
An exact timeline:
A neighbor had called police after they saw Arbery entering a home that was under construction. Police records show the first call came in at 1:08 pm. Around 1:10, video shows the McMichael's truck following Arbery. Around 1:15 pm, a call was made to police from Travis McMichael's cell phone. This call lasted only 21 seconds before shots could be heard.
Like most controversial cases and situations that involve injustice, the story involves many detailed complications. I do not wish to focus on this story to much because plenty of debate about that has already taken place in other threads in this forum, and it will distract from the focus of other parts of this subject, which I would like to focus on in this thread.
Some argue that this was entirely a case of self defense, that none of them did anything that should be illegal. Others argue that the three may have made some mistakes that deserve punishment but that they should not be held responsible for the death. Others argue that they may be partially responsible for the death, but due to the circumstances of the situation the punishment should be far less than in the case of normal murder. Others argue that they are entirely responsible for the death, and that it was a murder.
My view is that Gregory McMichael had reason to be suspicious of Arbery, but it was only adequate enough suspicion to try to follow him until police could arrive. Arbery probably did not want to wait around for police to arrive and that is why he was running trying to get away. Travis McMichael only took part in the chase because of Gregory McMichael. There was not really adequate time in that situation to communicate why Gregory McMichael was chasing the suspect. Neither was there adequate time to immediately call police. Travis and Bryan both did not know if police had already been called, and they were both focusing on driving the trucks, trying to pursue the suspect. Gregory McMichael was a retired former police officer.
The fact that the three were not arrested by authorities until over 2 months after the incident indicates that this was not initially seen by police as an obvious murder.