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Racist texts, posts presented in hate crimes trial for Ahmaud Arbery's killers

The federal trial began on Monday in south Georgia.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Marcus Arbery, the father of Ahmaud Arbery, said Wednesday after a slew of racist text messages and social media posts had been read in court during the federal hate crimes trial of the three men convicted of killing his son that it had been "hard" but that he was "glad the world can see this."

"I knew all that hate was in those men," he said.

Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, along with their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, were convicted of murdering Arbery last year and now face a trial to determine if they violated Arbery's civil rights and killed him because of the color of his skin.

RELATED: Live Updates | FBI agent testifying, reading messages, online posts of Arbery's killers regularly using N-word, racial slurs

On Wednesday, an FBI analyst took the stand in Brunswick, Georgia and went through a series of racist texts and posts as prosecutors sought to establish a racial animus in the chase and murder of Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020.

The texts and posts presented by the analyst communicated an open contempt for Black people, including the frequent use of slurs, and declarations of violent intent.

Journalists in the courtroom for the trial noted that in one reply to an online video, which showed a Black man putting barbecue sauce on a white man's head as a prank, the analyst said Travis McMichael replied: "I'd kill that f****** (N-word)."

In one reply on a Facebook video showing Black teenagers, McMichael reportedly wrote: "My Taurus .38 (handgun) says five of them would be taking a dirt nap... I say shoot all of them... f*** those g****** monkeys."

McMichael, the FBI analyst testified, often referred to using weapons against Black people and was the source for many of the most viciously racist communications.

RELATED: Neighbors, investigators take the stand in federal hate crimes trial over Ahmaud Arbery's death

Credit: AP
This photo combo shows, from left, Travis McMichael, William "Roddie" Bryan, and Gregory McMichael during their trial at at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga. Jurors on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 convicted the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was chased and fatally shot while running through their neighborhood in an attack that became part of the larger national reckoning on racial injustice. (Pool, file)

According to the pool notes, he also made reference to Black people as "animals," "monkeys" and "subhuman savages." 

He allegedly used the N-word in several texts, including messaging a friend at a bar and complaining about Black people being there: "They ruin everything. That's why I love what I do. Not a (N-word) in sight."

In another text, with a photo of an intellectually disabled man: "At least I'm not a (N-word)."

And in another post, Travis McMichael replied to a video of a Black man with firecrackers in his nose that it "would be cooler if he blew his f****** head off."

11Alive's sister station in Jacksonville, First Coast News, reported that in "one of the most disturbing pieces of evidence," a video was shown to the jury overlaying the song "Alabama (N-Word)" by Johnny Rebel on a clip of a Black boy dancing on The Ellen Show.

Arbery's father, Marcus, expressed his greatest sorrow over that post.

"How you hate a little baby because he's Black?" Marcus Arbery asked.

The testimony also included racist communications by Greg McMichael and Roddie Bryan. 

Bryan used the N-word in several texts, including "she has her a (N-word) now" after his daughter began dating a Black man, and in another text, referencing her relationship, he wrote, "she doesn't give a f*** about herself, why should we?"

He also specifically demeaned the MLK Holiday in back-to-back years, writing in 2019 that he was working "so all the (N-word) can take the day off" and the next year texting someone, in reference to the MLK parade, about "the monkey parade over there."

According to testimony, the FBI found several posts on Greg McMichael's Facebook page describing Black people as lazy, as well.

First Coast News reported a visibly upset Arbery family left the courtroom several times during proceedings

The notes from journalists in the courtroom also indicate that the defense attorneys for the three men made argued that the racial slurs and racist sentiments expressed in the communications were "ignorant" and "sad," but that they did not constitute proof of specific racial aggression against Ahmaud Arbery.

Bryan's attorney specifically said his client was not obsessed with race, and never wanted any harm for Arbery. He argued Bryan had naturally assumed something was wrong, that a crime had been committed, when he joined the chase the day Arbery was killed, and followed in a "non-aggressive" manner.

Travis McMichael's attorney argued his communications required additional context for consideration, and Greg McMichael's attorney said his client began the chase not because Arbery was Black, but because he was the man Greg McMichael suspected in neighborhood thefts.

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