Arbery was gunned down while away for a race near his home last year, sparking fury and demands for justice.
United States billed three white men in Georgia on Wednesday with federal hate crimes and the attempted kidnapping of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who died last year after having shot him down while running in a suburban neighborhood.
The Justice Department said former police officer Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 51, had each been charged with one count of human rights violations and one count of attempted kidnapping.
Travis and Gregory McMichael also face charges of using firearms to commit acts of violence.
President Joe Biden’s administration has since taking office three months ago stepped up enforcement of civil rights laws, which activists have complained about being overlooked during the presidency of his predecessor Donald Trump.
It comes as federal officials moved swiftly to initiate full investigations into troubled police services, with civil rights at the center of the ministry’s priorities.
Federal hate crime charges add to legal woes for the three, who already face criminal charges of malicious murder, felony, aggravated assault, imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony .
A trial date for state charges has yet to be set.
Arbery’s death sparked fury after his murder was filmed and went viral on social media in May 2020, weeks after his death on February 23.
His death was part of several high-profile murders of blacks last year to spark protests across the country.
Also killed in 2020 were George floyd, an unarmed black man died below the knee of a white policeman Derek chauvin, and Breonna Taylor, who was killed at her home after police in Louisville, Kentucky executed an arrest warrant.
A Minneapolis jury earlier this month condemned Chauvin in Floyd’s murder.
Attorney General Merrick Garland opened this month civil investigations in police misconduct in Minneapolis and Louisville.
The department is also conducting criminal investigations into the Floyd and Taylor murders.