Ahmaud Arbery’s mom: Thankful for justice and son’s legacy

Nov 25, 2021, 9:43 AM | Updated: Nov 27, 2021, 6:56 am
Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted T...

Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Ahmaud Arbery’s mother woke up Thursday with a new, very important blessing on Thanksgiving Day.

But there will still be an empty chair at the family’s celebrations. It is a reminder that while she feels justice was served when the three white men who helped shoot her son were convicted Wednesday for cornering and killing him as he ran through a coastal Georgia neighborhood, she will never be made whole again because her son is gone.

“This is the second Thanksgiving we’ve had without Ahmaud. But at the same time I’m thankful. This is the first Thanksgiving we are saying we got justice for Ahmaud,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.

The three white men who chased and killed Arbery in Brunswick in February 2020 were all convicted of murder Wednesday. They cornered Arbery after finding out he had been seen on a surveillance camera at a nearby house under construction and wanted to question him about recent burglaries in the area.

Arbery ran through the neighborhood and other areas near his home to clear his head. He had nothing in his hands and ran from the men for five minutes before one of them shot three times at him at close range with a shotgun. The men face life in prison when they are sentenced later and a federal hate crimes trial for them is scheduled for February.

Cooper-Jones said after the verdicts were read Wednesday, she thought of her son’s supporters at the Glynn County courthouse every day who shouted “Justice for Ahmaud!”

“I finally got a chance to come out of those courtroom doors and say, we did it, we did it together,” Cooper-Jones said.

Sitting beside Cooper-Jones as she heard the judge read out guilty 23 times was the mother of Ronald Greene, a Louisiana man who died in 2019 after he was beaten and put in a chokehold by state troopers after a high speed chase. Troopers said Greene suffered his injuries in a crash, but his doctors reported that didn’t appear to be true. A federal civil rights investigation into Greene’s death continues.

In the days after her son was killed. Cooper-Jones got a call from the mother of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teen killed by a man who successfully claimed self-defense during his murder trial after confronting Martin as he walked in his gated community. Martin was visiting relatives.

She also spoke with the mother of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was killed by Louisville, Kentucky, police who burst into her home without knocking while serving a warrant during a drug operation. Taylor’s boyfriend fired on the group. The officers were not charged in her death.

Other mothers who have lost sons and daughters to racial violence or in police shootings also reached out. Cooper-Jones calls them a sorority.

“We come together. We share our experience and we grow together,” she said.

Cooper-Jones spent the past six weeks away from home, since jury selection started Oct. 18. She moved away from Brunswick after her son was killed.

So she plans a quiet Thanksgiving away from home today. She isn’t sure if they will make Arbery’s favorite — pork chops and butter beans, but if not Thursday, the they will have them soon because she said her son loved them for Sunday dinner.

“Today is actually going to be a day of rest. I’ve been sitting in that courtroom since October 18,” Cooper-Jones said. “I’m gathering my immediate family. We’re going to have a small dinner. We’ve going to be thankful. We’re going to give our praises to God.”

Other relatives are also grateful for the blessing of justice.

“We’re thankful for Ahmaud’s life. Thankful for the love that he’s shown us, for the years we had him. Thankful for the fight we stayed in for justice. Thankful that now we can start healing,” Arbery’s aunt Thea Brooks told the AP.

Cooper-Jones is also thankful her son’s killers are facing justice and his death will make Georgia a safer place.

After Arbery’s death, Georgia became the 47th state to pass a hate crimes law. The Legislature also repealed the citizen’s arrest law that defense attorneys tried to use to justify chasing him, banning people who aren’t officers from detaining people outside of shoplifting.

“When they hear my son’s name. they will say, this young man, he lost his life but he did bring change,” Cooper-Jones said.

___

Jeffrey Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Alex Sanz in Atlanta and Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones his hugged by a supporter after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the trial of McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga. The three defendants were found guilty Wednesday in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Tears streak down the cheek of Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper-Jones after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga.  Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting that became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice.(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, left, is comforted by Rev. Al Sharpton after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)
            
              Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, holds her granddaughter, Aubrey Nicholson, on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at a residence on St. Simons Island, Ga., following the the guilty verdict of the three men who killed her son. (AP Photo/Lewis Levine)
            Michael Hulett, of Brunswick, Ga., plays "Let There Be Peace On Earth" on his saxophone during a prayer vigil outside the Glynn County Courthouse where a jury started deliberating the trial of Greg McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. The jury began deliberating Tuesday after hearing 10 days of testimony. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

AP

2 Chainz poses for a portrait on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, in Los Angeles. The Grammy Award-winning rap...
Associated Press

2 Chainz hosts Amazon Music live concerts using NFL platform

LOS ANGELES (AP) — 2 Chainz wants to capitalize off the NFL’s huge “Thursday Night Football” platform to feature some of the world’s most popular musical performers on Amazon Music’s live concert series. The Grammy winner is the host of “Amazon Music Live,” a weekly live show that streams on Prime Video after “Thursday Night […]
13 hours ago
Mark Hager, left, positions a camera with the help of Anthony Lucia, right, as captain Al Cottone w...
Associated Press

Could trawler cams help save world’s dwindling fish stocks?

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — For years, Mark Hager’s job as an observer aboard New England fishing boats made him a marked man, seen as a meddling cop on the ocean, counting and scrutinizing every cod, haddock and flounder to enforce rules and help set crucial quotas. On one particularly perilous voyage, he spent 12 days […]
13 hours ago
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media conference at the EU-Weste...
Associated Press

EU eyes Russian officials, banks, industry for sanctions

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Wednesday proposed travel bans and asset freezes on almost 200 more Russian officials and military officers as part of a new round of sanctions aimed at ramping up pressure on Moscow over its war in Ukraine. The proposals were made by the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission. […]
13 hours ago
In this photo released by the Nigeria State House, Nigeria's central bank governor, Godwin Emefile,...
Associated Press

Experts raise concerns as Nigeria limits cash withdrawals

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Experts on Wednesday raised concerns over a new policy announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria that heavily limits withdrawals of money in a push for a cashless economy. The monetary policy, which applies to ATMs, banks and cash back from purchases, follows the launch of the West African nation’s newly […]
13 hours ago
French animal rights activists group L214 protest exceptions to a new legislation that was meant to...
Associated Press

French activists protest against killing of male chicks

PARIS (AP) — French animal rights activists on Wednesday protested what they say are broad exceptions in legislation that was meant to ban the practice of killing unwanted male chicks after they hatch. The culling ban is set to take effect in January. France-based animal rights group L214 said exceptions allowed by the government will […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Polish European deputy Jacek Kurski attends the election of the new European Parliament Pres...
Associated Press

Fired state TV chief’s World Bank job shocks many in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The former head of Poland’s state broadcaster said Wednesday that he now has a job at the World Bank, spurring disbelief in the European Union country where he is known for turning the news channel into a propaganda tool for the right-wing government. Kurski, who has no finance experience, said on […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Ahmaud Arbery’s mom: Thankful for justice and son’s legacy