Team Roc acknowledges that Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault in Arbery's death. But it only sees this as a "positive first step" since it came nearly two months after the victim's death. Team Roc is now urging the state to treat the incident as a hate crime.
"By now, we’ve all seen the crime’s disturbing video, so the facts here are not in doubt: He was unarmed and innocent and the victim of a hate crime," the letter read. "Which is why we call upon you today, as official leaders of the Great State of Georgia, and with the entire world watching, to ensure that a fair trial is conducted, as that can only lead to the appropriate felony convictions of both McMichaels. We also implore you to charge William Bryan as an armed accomplice to the crime."
The letter goes on to demand that District Attorney Tom Durden—one of the letter's recipients—to recuse himself from the trial. Team Roc claims that there is a "clear conflict of interest" for Durden because Gregory McMichael was a former police officer. Team Roc also draws the connection between this killing and the way Black people are treated in America.
"As a society we can no longer pretend that the racial inequities, which exist in every facet of our lives, don’t invariably lead down the path to poverty, violence and death. To even think about breaking this cycle we need you to protect the process and preserve the fairness of the trial," the letter said.
"We truly appreciate that you have arrested and charged these men with Ahmaud’s murder," it continued. "And are hopeful that a trial and conviction will show that, in the state that gave us Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been the site of the best and worst of the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King’s words do ring true: 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.'"