Father and son McMichael have admitted their act was racially motivated. They decided to chase Arbery in their pickup truck because of his “ethnicity and color”. The gunmen involved their neighbor Bryan, who gave chase in his own car and filmed it. Footage of the shooting surfaced on the internet months later.
The trio stated in the murder case that they suspected that Arbery was on the run, and that he may have broken in. There was no evidence for this: Arbery had gone jogging in his sports clothes, did nothing wrong and had nothing else with him.
Arbery was 25 years old when he was shot. The case is regularly cited in Black Lives Matter protests as an example of extreme, racially motivated violence against black citizens.