Justice Department Must Investigate Ahmaud Arbery"s Murder


Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Release Date

Thursday, May 14, 2020


WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, Muslim Advocates, NAACP, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, along with 110 additional organizations committed to racial justice and civil rights, called on the U.S. Department of Justice to open a full and thorough hate crimes investigation into the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. The groups also called on the DOJ to conduct a federal civil rights pattern or practice investigation into the local district attorneys, as well as the Glynn County Police Department, for systemic constitutional abuses.

“The DOJ, including the FBI and the Civil Rights Division, must conduct a full investigation into Mr. Arbery’s killing under federal hate crimes and conspiracy statutes. The publicly available facts, including the harrowing video documenting the intentional killing of an African-American man in broad daylight by two White men who stalked him, support opening an investigation under federal hate crimes statutes, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, as well as federal conspiracy statutes,” the groups wrote in their letter to Attorney General Barr.

There are sufficient grounds to open a federal civil rights pattern or practice investigation of the local prosecutors and the police department,” the groups wrote.

At a time when we are seeing a spike in hate crimes, the role of the Civil Rights Division in working with the FBI to investigate and prosecute hate crimes cases and ensure constitutional enforcement of the law by state and local law enforcement agencies is more important than ever. The DOJ has publicly acknowledged the real and growing threat of white supremacy and white nationalism in the United States. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery and actions of the local district attorneys and police department warrant the DOJ’s action. This terrifying violence is not new; it is part of the continuing dehumanization of Black people across America. We cannot fight the racism, hate, and impunity that threaten the lives of Black people and other people of color unless the department takes the necessary actions to ensure full and real accountability,” concludes the letter.

The full letter is available here, and the participating organizations are listed below:

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

American Civil Liberties Union

Human Rights Campaign

Muslim Advocates


NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.


ACLU of Georgia

ADL (Anti-Defamation League)

Advancement Project

African American Ministers In Action

Alliance for Gun Responsibility

American Association of People with Disabilities

American Federation of Teachers

American Humanist Association

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Amnesty International USA

Andrew Goodman Foundation

Arab American Institute

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Black Women’s Health Imperative

Border Angels


Bridging Cultures Group Inc.


California Association of Human Relations Organizations

Center for American Progress

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Responsible Lending

Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism-California State University, San Bernardino

Center or Constitutional Rights

Clearinghouse on Women's Issues

Coalition of Labor Union Women

Coalition on Human Needs

Defending Rights & Dissent

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

Emgage Action

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)

Equal Justice Society

Equity and Justice Institute, Crossroads School

Fund for Leadership, Equity, Access and Diversity

Gays Against Guns

Generation Progress

Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda

Gun Violence Prevention Education Center - Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

Gun Violence Prevention PAC

GunSense Vermont

Hip Hop Caucus

Hispanic Federation

ICNA Council for Social Justice

International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies

Japanese American Citizens League

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Joint Action Committee

Juvenile Law Center

Lambda Legal

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

League of Women Voters of Georgia

League of Women Voters of the United States

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)

March For Our Lives

Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence

Matthew Shepard Foundation

Media Alliance

Muslim Community Network

Muslim Public Affairs Council

National Association of Human Rights Workers

National Association of Social Workers

National Black Caucus of State Legislators

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Law and Economic Justice

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

National Council of Churches

National Council of Churches USA

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of Negro Women

National Employment Law Project

National Equality Action Team

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Hispanic Media Coalition

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Organization for Women

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Women’s Law Center

National Workrights Institute

New American Leaders

Paths to Understanding

People For the American Way

PFLAG National

Public Citizen

Revolutionary Love Project

San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

Sattaur Leadership Institute

The Sikh Coalition

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Los Angeles

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Southern Center for Human Rights

Southern Poverty Law Center

States United to Prevent Gun Violence

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law


Union for Reform Judaism

The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society

United Sikhs

United We Dream

Voices for Progress

Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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