WATCH: Attorney General Garland speaks after guilty verdicts in Arbery hate crimes case

Shortly after a jury in Georgia found three white men guilty of federal hate crimes in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Arbery’s “family and his friends should be preparing to celebrate his 28th birthday later this spring, not mourning the second anniversary of his death tomorrow.”

Watch Garland’s remarks in the player above.

Garland said, “the Justice Department has a legal obligation to prosecute hate crimes. And as Americans, all of us have a moral obligation to combat the hatred and bigotry that motivates those crimes.”

In addition to the federal hate crimes, the jury also found father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan guilty of attempted kidnapping, while the McMichaels were also found guilty of the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

During the trial, prosecutors showed roughly two dozen text messages and social media posts in which Travis McMichael and Bryan used racist slurs and made derogatory comments about Black people. The FBI wasn’t able to access Greg McMichael’s phone because it was encrypted.

The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pickup truck to pursue Arbery after seeing him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick in February 2020. Bryan joined the pursuit in his own pickup and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Arbery. The killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the graphic video leaked online two months later.

Garland grew emotional as he recounted the crime.

“I cannot imagine the pain that a mother feels to have her son run down and then gunned down while taking a jog on a public street. My heart goes out to her and to the family.”

Police found Arbery had no weapon and no stolen items. Prosecutors said he was merely out jogging.

“Throughout our history and to this day, hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear that they inflict on entire communities,” Garland said.

“No one should fear that if they go out for a run, they will be targeted and killed because of the color of their skin,” he said.