Despite federal hate crimes convictions for all three men involved in her son's death, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery still carries anger toward the Department of Justice for attempting a plea deal with Ahmaud's killers.
"That's not justice for Ahmaud," Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said Tuesday in reference to the arrangement. "What we got today we would not have gotten today if it wasn't for the fight that the family put up."
"What the DOJ did today, they was made to do today. ... They were made to do their job today," Cooper-Jones continued. Immediately preceding her comments, a jury found Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan guilty of a racially-motivated attack against Arbery.
Earlier this month, the McMichaels — two-thirds of the convicted trio — reached plea deals with the Justice Department "in which they would have been sentenced to 30-year sentences to run concurrent with their state sentences," The New York Times reports. Arbery's parents, however, came to court and pleaded with the judge to reject the deals, "in part because they would have allowed the men to spend the bulk of their sentences in the federal prison system, which is generally thought to be a less harsh environment than the Georgia state system," writes the Times. Ultimately, the pleas were rejected.
"I told the DOJ that yes, they were prosecutors, but one thing they didn't have, they didn't have a son that was lying in a cold grave, and they still didn't hear my cry," Cooper-Jones went on.
"So again, we got a victory today. But it's so many families out there who don't get victories because of people that we have fighting for us."