Men accused in death of Ahmaud Arbery appear in court


In this image made from video, Travis McMichael, left, and Greg McMichael listen to a preliminary hearing via a court video feed, Thursday, June 4, 2020, while inside the in the Glynn County jail, in Brunswick, Ga. (Glynn County Jail via AP, Pool)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 5:12 PM PT — Thursday, June 4, 2020

It’s been nearly four months since the death of Ahmaud Arbery, and the men charged with his murder appeared in court for the first time this week.

Father and son Travis and Greg McMichael appeared in court Thursday, while their neighbor William Roddie Bryan waived his right. Bryan is the man who recorded the now viral cell phone video, which captured the final moments leading up to Arbery’s death. The footage has sent shockwaves throughout the nation.

Georgia’s Bureau of Investigation recently revealed the younger McMichael used a racial slur just moments after he allegedly opened fire over Arbery’s body. According to the GBI, the suspect used the same racial epithet “numerous” times in messages found on his phone.

New details also emerged about the pursuit through Georgia’s Glynn County.

“Mr. Bryan admits to joining the pursuit of Mr. Arbery,” stated bureau official Richard Dial. “He admits to trying to block Mr. Arbery in, trying to detain him several times.”

The men have been accused of using a pickup truck to chase Arbery down the street and ram him with the vehicle, which prevented him from escaping. The father and son are now facing additional charges of aggravated assault.

This photo combo of images taken Thursday, May 7, 2020, and provided by the Glynn County Detention Center, in Georgia, show Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

The suspects previously claimed Arbery may have been behind a series of break-ins in the neighborhood, which allegedly led them to attempt a citizens’ arrest.

“His statement to the effect is he didn’t know Mr. Arbery had stolen anything or not, but he had a gut feeling that Mr. Arbery may have been responsible for thefts that were in the neighborhood previously. I think he actually says gut, his instinct told him that.” – Richard Dial, Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Georgia is one of the few states which does not have a hate crime law. However, the Justice Department has said it will be investigating Arbery’s death and will decide whether to pursue federal hate crime charges.

All three men remain behind bars as the trial continues. They have yet to enter a plea.

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Man who recorded Ahmaud Arbery shooting charged with murder


William Bryan, the man who recorded the February killing of Ahmaud Arbery, has been arrested and charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Thursday. The 50-year-old is the third person to be charged in connection with Arbery’s death. 

Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man, was killed on February 23 in a neighborhood in Georgia. No arrests were made in the case until this month, when newly revealed cellphone footage taken by Bryan showed 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his 34-year-old son, Travis, confront Arbery before shooting him.

Gregory and Travis were both arrested on May 9. Travis was charged with murder and aggravated assault, and Gregory was charged with party to murder and aggravated assault. 

On the day of the shooting, Arbery was spotted walking around an open construction site and the McMichaels pursued him in a pickup truck, according to the police report. When they passed Bryan’s home, Bryan got in his own vehicle and followed, The New York Times reported. 

When Arbery ran around the McMichaels’ car, Bryan tried to block him, Gregory McMichael told investigators. Arbery ran past Bryan’s car, too, and the two vehicles reportedly turned around and continued pursuing him. At 1:14 p.m., Bryan took the video of Travis shooting Arbery, the Times said. 

McMichael told police he thought Arbery was a burglary suspect, adding that Arbery “violently” attacked his son, and the two fought “over the shotgun” before Travis shot him twice.

In an interview with CBS affiliate WJAX, Bryan said he had “nothing to do” with Arbery’s death. “I had nothing to do with it. I’m trying to get my life back to normal, and it’s been smeared for the last week,” Bryan said. “I was told I was a witness and I’m not sure what I am, other than receiving a bunch of threats.”

“My client was responding to what he saw, which was someone in the community he didn’t know being followed by a vehicle he recognized,” Bryan’s attorney told the outlet. “Without going into details about the level of crime in this community in this subdivision, I think most people in this subdivision were aware that there were issues.” 

Attorneys for Arbery’s family commended Bryan’s arrest. “The family of Ahmaud Arbery was relieved to learn that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken William ‘Roddie’ Bryan into custody,” the lawyers said in a statement. “We called for his arrest from the very beginning of this process. His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation it was clear to the GBI as well.” 

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Ahmaud Arbery remembered as ‘humble guy’ with plans to become an electrician


ATLANTA— Ahmaud Arbery knew racism existed in the southern Georgia community he called home.

He and his best friend Akeem Baker had conversations about it, but never discussed feeling as if their lives were at risk. 

“We weren’t just out here in Brunswick living in fear,” Baker said. “We just understood that everything wasn’t all love everywhere we went.” 

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, remembers talking with him about the Trayvon Martin case in 2012. She said they agreed Martin was wrongly profiled and killed. 

Cooper-Jones said she raised her son to avoid people who racially profiled him.

Now, that’s what many believe happened on Feb. 23 when Arbery was killed.  

Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was shot three times as he jogged through Satilla Shores, a neighborhood two miles from his home in Brunswick.

From left Ahmaud Arbery, his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones and his best friend Akeem Baker pose at their high school graduation.

Two white men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, were arrested and charged with the murder of Arbery last week, following a public outcry over a viral video of the shooting.

Gregory McMichael told police they grabbed their guns and followed Arbery because he appeared to be the person seen on a surveillance video committing “several break-ins” in Satilla Shores. Glynn County police told USA TODAY they had no records of home break-ins or burglaries between Jan. 1 and Feb. 23 in that neighborhood. Local media reported one car burglary. 

Shortly before the shooting, a 911 caller reported a black man was on a property under construction in the neighborhood. Attorneys for the Arbery family say the man, believed to be Arbery, was on the property for less than three minutes and did not commit a crime. 

Cooper-Jones said Arbery wanted to become an electrician, following the footsteps of three of his uncles. 

He attended South Georgia Technical College for about a year and a half but stopped when money got tight for the family, Cooper-Jones said. She said she was also putting her other son and daughter through school at the time.  

Before his death, Arbery was planning to go back to school and get his electrician certification, she said.  

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery Family, said an unfinished property is an “electrician’s dream” and suspects Arbery was observing the electrical work of the house.

The latest: Security video from construction site may show Ahmaud Arbery was getting water, lawyer says

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‘Humble’ 

Cooper-Jones said when a Glynn County police officer initially told her a homeowner killed Arbery while he was committing a burglary, she knew it couldn’t be true.  

“I had this numb feeling, but I did not believe it,” Cooper-Jones said. 

“He was just a really humble guy,” she said. “Ahmaud was a good kid.”

She recalled him helping out around the house, whether moving heavy furniture or offering to fix electrical outlets. 

Ahmaud Arbery is pictured here with his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones.
Ahmaud Arbery is pictured here with his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones.

Baker remembers Arbery was his “hype man” who would give Baker a playful nudge to freestyle rap lyrics or do high intensity workouts in the gym. 

“He was just a real genuine person,” said Baker, who grew up in the same apartment complex as Arbery. “He spoke and did everything from a place of love.” 

Arbery was also popular among his peers.

Baker recalled desperately wanting to become Arbery’s friend in second grade because he was so likable. He took snacks to the bus stop to initiate conversation with Arbery and they started sitting together.

Baker said he always admired Arbery, affectionately known as “Maud,” for his confidence, sense of humor and selflessness. 

“He would offer the shirt off his back and give you his last if needed,” Baker said. “If Maud had $10 and I had nothing, he would make sure I had half of what he had.”

Cooper-Jones finds some peace in knowing she told her son “I love you” and he said it back before she left the house the morning of Feb. 23. 

She wishes her own community would have done more to call for justice when Arbery was first killed.

“I just think at the end of the day, they should have cared more,” she said. 

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‘Running with Maud’

Cooper-Jones said she didn’t know Arbery ventured to Satilla Shores on his routine runs. But she said he was dedicated to staying fit and counting his calories. 

“If it wasn’t drenching in rain, Ahmaud ran,” Cooper-Jones said. “He got his run in every day.”

Arbery had turned their garage into a gym with workout equipment, including a bench press. 

Baker said Arbery would sometimes invite him over to work out or the two would meet at a local YMCA gym. They would also run on the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick. 

Arbery was in such good shape that Baker couldn’t keep up. 

“He just wanted to do crazy workouts,” Baker said. “He would have me so tired and fatigued.”

Ahmad Arbery (right) and his best friend Akeem Baker are pictured. Arbery was killed Feb. 23 near Brunswick, Georgia.
Ahmad Arbery (right) and his best friend Akeem Baker are pictured. Arbery was killed Feb. 23 near Brunswick, Georgia.

Baker said he and Arbery played football together at Brunswick High School. Arbery was a football star who dreamed of going to the NFL, Baker said. He had been playing since youth flag football, when he was about 6 years old.

Baker has left his home in New York to help with Arbery’s case in Brunswick. He launched the “I Run With Maud” Go Fund Me for the Arbery family that as of Friday had raised $482,595. 

“It’s going to be a long fight but we will continue to keep doing what’s necessary to help move this case forward,” Baker said. “To make sure the decision-makers are aware that they are being watched. We are just doing whatever we have to do to keep running with Maud.” 

More on the Ahmaud Arbery case

Legal experts explain how key video frames may be used in murder trial

Federal officials considering if hate crime charges are necessary

Why it took more than 2 months for murder charges and arrests

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ahmaud Arbery shooting: Mother, friend describe ‘humble’ ‘hype man’





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US Justice Department weighing up hate crime charges after shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery


The US Justice Department is weighing whether to file hate crime charges against the white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man who was gunned down while jogging in the small coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said on Monday.

“The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia have been supporting and will continue fully to support and participate in the state investigation, department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.

“We are assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes charges are appropriate.”

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed on February 23 as he ran on a sunny day in a residential neighbourhood in the town of Brunswick, Georgia.

Two white men were arrested and charged for his shooting last week.

Mr Arbery’s death gained national notoriety last week with the release of a 28-second cell phone video that captured the shooting.

In the footage, Mr Arbery is seen running down a residential street and approaching a white pickup truck stopped in the right lane with a man standing in the back.

Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael, have been charged with murder (AAP)

Glynn County (Ga.) Detention Center

As Arbery tries to get around the vehicle, he is confronted by a second man holding a shotgun. An altercation between the two ensues and the firing of three shots can be heard.

The two white men were identified by police as Travis McMichael, 34, and his father Gregory McMichael, 64, who both live in Brunswick. They were arrested on Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

According to the February police report, Gregory McMichael told officers he thought Mr Arbery was a suspect in a series of area burglaries and that he had seen the young black man “hauling ass” down the street.

In this Friday, May 8, 2020, file photo, people pray during a rally to protest the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery

Gregory McMichael said he went inside his home and got his .357 Magnum while his son grabbed a shotgun. When they finally caught up with Mr Arbery and Travis McMichael got out of the truck with the shotgun, Mr Arbery began to “violently attack” him, the father said, according to the police report.

The father said he saw his son shoot Mr Arbery and the jogger fall to the ground.

Ahmaud Arbery, in white, runs on a street in Georgia in the moments before he is shot and killed.

Ahmaud Arbery, in white, runs on a street in Georgia in the moments before he is shot and killed.

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Long delay

Critics have questioned why it took local law enforcement more than two months to arrest the suspects, prompting Georgia’s state attorney general to vow to investigate the delay.

Ms Kupec said that the Justice Department is also looking into how the investigation was handled.

“We are considering the request of the Attorney General of Georgia and have asked that he forward to federal authorities any information that he has about the handling of the investigation,” Ms Kupec said.

“We will continue to assess all information, and we will take any appropriate action that is warranted by the facts and the law.”

 



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Newly released video sheds light on fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery


Family photo of Ahmaud Arbery.

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:00 AM PT — Sunday, May 10, 2020

The witness to the Ahmaud Arbery killing has reportedly received threats. William Bryan’s attorney responded to the threats on his client’s behalf Friday, claiming his client was merely a witness.

Bryan’s video of Gregory and Travis McMichael shooting Arbery in Georgia has been circulating over the past week and has raised questions about the man behind the camera. According to his lawyer, Bryan only recorded the video to show police. The footage is now an essential piece of evidence in the case.

The newly released video depicted a man, believed to be Arbery, just minutes before he was shot and killed. The man walked in and around a house under construction for several minutes. He appeared to take nothing with him.

The tape happened to also describe a 911 call that coincided with the time the video was taken. The witness described the figure as a “black man in a white t-shirt running through the neighborhood.”

The suspects, Gregory and Travis McMichael, claimed they thought Arbery was the suspect in a string of burglaries in the neighborhood. The McMichaels then pursued him, believing him to be fleeing the scene.

A deadly confrontation followed.

The following video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.

Glenn County Police have since confirmed there were no reports of burglaries in the area from the beginning of January to the time of the Arbery’s death.

“We base our decisions on two things: one are facts and the other is the law. Whatever the facts are, we apply the law to it. If the law says what the facts are, it’s a felony murder, then we take the warrants for it. I’m very comfortable in telling you that there’s more than sufficient probable cause in this case for felony murder.” – Vic Reynold, Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation

This photo combo of images taken Thursday, May 7, 2020, and provided by the Glynn County Detention Center, in Georgia, show Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

Gregory and Travis McMichael are facing murder and aggravated assault charges. They are being held without bond.

Many people believe the pair should also be charged for a hate crime, but the state of Georgia is one of the four states in the nation that does not have hate crime laws in place.

“There are two justice systems in America, one for black America and one for white America,” stated Arbery’s family attorney. “Until we come together as the United States of America, we see this is going to continue to happen.”

The state’s Bureau of Investigation is currently reviewing the case and Georgia’s attorney general has vowed to “further” investigate the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

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Gregory and Travis McMichael charged with murder of Ahmaud Arbery


Arrest warrants for Gregory and Travis McMichael filed in court on Friday confirmed, as the initial police report stated, that Travis McMichael “pointed and discharged a shotgun … at Ahmaud Arbery.” But there were no new details.

In a letter to Glynn County police in early April, a prosecutor previously assigned to the case outlined reasons he believed there was “insufficient probable cause to issue arrest warrants” in the case. Waycross DA George E Barnhill argued that the McMichaels’ actions were legal under Georgia laws on citizen’s arrests, the open carry of guns and self-defence.

The McMichaels told police they pursued Arbery, with another person recording them on video, after spotting him running in their neighbourhood. The father and son said they thought he matched the appearance of a burglary suspect who they said had been recorded on a surveillance camera some time before.

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her son, a former high school football player, was just jogging in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood before he was killed.

Arbery would have turned 26 on Friday, and a crowd of several hundred people, most wearing masks, sang “Happy Birthday” in his honour outside the Glynn County Courthouse. Many expressed frustration at the long wait before arrests were made and fears that the justice system will fail them.

“The work is just beginning,” John Perry, president of the Brunswick NAACP chapter, told the crowd. “We can’t stop now. We can’t lose focus and we’ve got to make sure the prosecution gets done.”

Anthony Johnson, 40, said Arbery was his neighbour for about a decade. He said he wanted to see the McMichaels get the same treatment in the legal system as black defendants.

“Just arresting them, that ain’t doing nothing,” Johnson said. “We want them convicted. We want them sent to prison for life.”

Gregory and Travis McMichael made their first, brief court appearances on Friday afternoon.

The father and son, both wearing orange jumpsuits, appeared individually from jail on a videoconference screen in the courtroom of Magistrate Judge Wallace Harrell. Inmates aren’t appearing in person because of the coronavirus.

The judge spent roughly a minute reading each man his rights and the charges faced. A Superior Court judge will have to decide whether to grant them bond.

The McMichaels spoke only when asked to confirm their names. Neither had attorneys representing them in court. No further hearing dates were scheduled.

The felony murder charges against Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, mean that a victim was killed during the commission of an underlying felony, in this case aggravated assault. The charge doesn’t require intent to kill.

A murder conviction in Georgia is automatically punishable by life in prison, either with or without the possibility of parole. A prosecutor can also seek the death penalty in a murder case if certain aggravating circumstances exist.

A GBI news release said the McMichaels “confronted Arbery with two firearms. During the encounter, Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery.”

Some of the encounter was apparently recorded in two 911 calls, with a dispatcher trying to understand the problem.

“There’s a black male running down the street,” the caller says.

“I just need to know what he was doing wrong,” the dispatcher responds, in part.

In a second call six minutes later, someone can be heard yelling “Stop. … Dammit. Stop.” Then, after a pause, “Travis!”

Ahmaud Arbery stumbles and falls to the ground after being shot as Travis McMichael stands by holding a shotgun in a neighbourhood outside Brunswick, Georgia. Credit:AP

Gregory McMichael retired last year as an investigator for Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson; the connection caused Johnson to recuse herself. Barnhill then got the case before recusing himself under pressure from Arbery’s family because his son works in Johnson’s office.

Tom Durden, the outside prosecutor overseeing the case, had said he wanted a grand jury to decide whether charges are warranted, but Georgia courts are still largely closed because of the coronavirus. Durden said on Friday that he won’t bow to public pressure from one side or another.

The leaked video shows a black man running at a jogging pace. The truck is stopped in the road ahead of him, with one of the white men standing in the pickup’s bed and the other beside the open driver’s side door.

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The running man attempts to pass the pickup on the passenger side, moving just beyond the truck, briefly outside the camera’s view. A gunshot sounds, and the video shows the runner grappling with a man over what appears to be a shotgun or rifle. A second shot can be heard, and the runner can be seen punching the man. A third shot is fired at point-blank range. The runner staggers a few feet and falls face down.

“They did not arrest the killers of Ahmaud Arbery because they saw the video,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the slain man’s father, Marcus Arbery, told The Associated Press on Friday. “They arrested the killers of Ahmaud Arbery because we saw the video, the public saw the video and it went viral. It was shocking. People were astonished.”

The outcry over the killing reached the White House, where President Donald Trump offered condolences to Arbery’s family.

Trump said on Friday on Fox News Channel that he’d seen the video.

“It’s a heartbreak … very rough, rough stuff,” Trump added. “Justice getting done is what solves that problem. It’s in the hands of the governor and I’m sure he’ll do the right thing.”

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Ahmaud Arbery murder: Arrested ex-cop investigated him before


Brunswick DA Jackie Johnson blocked police from arresting a father and son accused of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery because one of them used to work in her office, it is claimed

Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson blocked police from arresting a white father and son accused of the murder of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, 25, because she was friends with one of them, two Glynn County commissioners say.

Ex-cop Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested in Brunswick, Georgia, Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault more than two months after the death of Arbery.

Officers investigating the scene of the fatal shooting on February 23 told Johnson’s office that they had cause to arrest the father and son at the time but the DA shut them down. 

Gregory McMichael had worked as an investigator in her office until his retirement in 2019 causing Johnson to recused herself from the case a few days after the shooting.  

‘She shut them down to protect her friend McMichael,’ Glynn County Commissioner Allen Booker told The Atlanta Journal Constition.

The McMichaels made their first court appearance Friday afternoon via a video link from inside the Glynn County jail.

A judge ruled that bond on both charges would have to be set by a superior court judge. Both men were read their rights but said little more other than ‘yes’ to their name.

Earlier on Friday, President Donald Trump spoke out about the ‘very disturbing’ footage of the deadly shooting as he said that law enforcement was ‘gonna do what’s right’. 

His daughter Ivanka also commented asking ‘why it seemingly took months, the release of a video and corresponding public outrage to catalyse action’. 

Scroll down for video 

Travis McMichael, 34, in his first court appearance

Gregory McMichael, 64,in his first court appearance

Ex-cop Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, in their first court appearance

A picture shared by Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, on his 25th birthday. Protesters gather in Brunswick, Georgia, Friday on what would have been his 26th birthday, a day after two men were arrested for his murder on February 23

A picture shared by Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, on his 25th birthday. Protesters gather in Brunswick, Georgia, Friday on what would have been his 26th birthday, a day after two men were arrested for his murder on February 23

Ex-cop Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested in Brunswick, Georgia, Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault of Ahmaud Arbery after this shocking video was released earlier this week

 Ex-cop Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested in Brunswick, Georgia, Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault of Ahmaud Arbery after this shocking video was released earlier this week

At a press conference on Friday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation described how it took 36 hours to find ‘probable’ cause for felony murder charges against the McWilliams, and would not rule out charging the driver of a second car, William Bryan, who filmed the shooting.

‘Don’t know yet – we’ll go wherever the evidence takes us. If there is probable cause for arrest, we’ll do it. If there isn’t, we won’t,’ said Director Vic Reynolds, adding that Bryan’s video of the fatal confrontation, which took place on February 23, was a key piece of evidence.

It emerged Friday that police had found probable cause to arrest the father and son in the days after the shooting but they were allegedly prevented from making arrests by Gregory’s former co-worker Johnson. 

‘The police at the scene went to her, saying they were ready to arrest both of them. These were the police at the scene who had done the investigation,’ Commissioner Allen Booker, who has spoken with Glynn County police, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

‘She shut them down to protect her friend McMichael.’

‘They were told not to make the arrest,’ added Commissioner Peter Murphy, who said he also spoke directly to Glynn County police about the incident and that officers had said there was probable cause for arrest before this.  

The Arbery family were told in February that Ahmaud was shot by a homeowner during an attempted burglary, their lawyer Lee Merritt told Yahoo

It was only after the video recorded by Bryan was leaked and caused outrage that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations got involved and arrests were made. 

Speaking on Friday, President Trump said the footage was ‘very disturbing’. 

He also claimed that there may have been more that was not seen on camera. 

Ivanka Trump tweeted about the arrest Friday and asked why it had taken so long to happen

Ivanka Trump tweeted about the arrest Friday and asked why it had taken so long to happen

Shocking cellphone video captured the moment the McMichaels confronted Arbery in the street

In the footage Travis is seen engaging in a physical fight with Arbery before shooting him with a shotgun

Shocking cellphone video captured the moment the McMichaels confronted Arbery in the street. In the footage Travis is seen engaging in a physical fight with Arbery before shooting him with a shotgun 

TIMELINE OF BOTCHED HANDLING OF THE CASE

February 23: Ahmaud Arbery is shot dead in the street in Brunswick, Georgia. 

Gregory and Travis McMichael had gone out in their car with guns to chase him because they mistook him for a burglar. 

When they caught up to him, Travis got out of the car. 

Jackie Johnson recused herself because McMichael used to work in her office

Jackie Johnson recused herself because McMichael used to work in her office 

Greg says they told Arbery that they wanted to talk to him and that he attacked Travis. A struggle ensued and Travis fired his gun twice, killing Ahmaud, 25. 

Late February – First prosecutor recuses herself

Jackie Johnson, the Brunswick District Attorney, stepped down from the case because Gregory used to work in her office as an investigator. 

Mid-April – Second prosecutor says he won’t press charges, then recuses himself

George Barnhill said Ahmaud initiated the fight

George Barnhill said Ahmaud initiated the fight 

George Barnhill was given the case. 

He at first said he did not think it merited charges because the McMichaels were acting lawfully by trying to carry out a citizen’s arrest, which is legal in Georgia. 

He also said that the video ‘shows’ Arbery reaching for Travis’ gun. 

Barnhill recused himself because his son, also called George Barnhill, works in the office where McMichael used to

Barnhill recused himself because his son, also called George Barnhill, works in the office where McMichael used to 

The first shot is fired however when the pair are out of frame. 

When the camera panned back to them, they were struggling again to the side of the vehicle. 

Barnhill said Travis was standing his ground by firing three shots which hit Arbery. 

He later had to recuse himself after it emerged that his son works in the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office, where Gregory served. 

May 5 – Third prosecutor passes it on to grand jury   

Tom Durden is the third prosecutor to have the case come across his desk. 

He said that his office would approach it without prior prejudice.  

This week, he announced that he would not make a decision on whether or not to charge, and that he wants to convene a grand jury to take it on. 

May 7 – Georgia Bureau of Investigation files charges

The GBI announced that it was bringing charges of murder and aggravated assault against the Gregory and Travis on May 7. 

‘I looked at a picture of that young man. He was in a tuxedo … I will say that that looks like a really good young guy,’ Trump said.

‘There could have been things that we didn’t see on tape – off tape and then back on tape – but it was troubling certainly to anyone who watched it. It was a troubling video. 

‘My heart goes out to the parents and the families and friends,’ he added while stating that he believed Georgia governor Brian Kemp would investigate the matter ‘strongly’. 

‘[Brian Kemp] is going to do what’s right. It’s a heartbreaking thing. That was very rough, rough stuff.

‘Justice getting done is the thing that solves the [racial problem]. Again, it is in the hands of the governor and I’m sure he’ll do the right thing. It could be something that we didn’t see on tape. If you saw, things went off tape and then back on tape.’ 

The McMichaels had claimed to cops they recognized Arbery from surveillance video capturing a recent burglary in their mostly white neighborhood. 

There is no evidence to suggest that Arbery was responsible for any burglaries in the area and the Glynn County Police Department said Thursday that it had no reports involving burglaries or home break-ins in the Satilla Shores neighborhood between January 1 and February 23.

On Thursday, however, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Greg McMichael had investigated Arbery before when he worked as an investigator in the Brunswick DA’s office. 

In a letter to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr recusing himself from the case, Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill said that his own son and Gregory ‘both helped with the previous prosecution of (Ahmaud) Arbery’.

Arbery had previously been sentenced to five years probation as a first offender on charges of carrying a weapon on campus and several counts of obstructing a law enforcement officer.

According to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he was also convicted of probation violation in 2018 after he was charged with shoplifting.

Gregory, who retired from the DA’s office in 2019, had not mentioned his involvement in the case to police and Barnhill said he had only learned of the ties ‘three or four weeks’. 

In his letter, Barnhill added that criminal charges against the McMichaels was unwarranted, citing the criminal history of Arbery’s brother and cousin. 

The Arbery family’s lawyer Lee Merritt asked how this was linked to the young man’s death.  

‘This speaks to the wider issue of mass incarceration,’ Merritt said. ‘If black people have any kind of criminal record somehow that justifies their murder.’  

The family held a dedication distance run Friday on what would have been Arbery’s 26th birthday as protesters also gathered in Brunswick.   

A crowd of several hundred people, most wearing masks, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in his honor outside the Glynn County Courthouse. Many expressed frustrations at the long wait before any arrests were made, and fears that the justice system will fail them.

People react during a rally Friday morning outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, to protest the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man what would have been his 26th birthday

People react during a rally Friday morning outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, to protest the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man what would have been his 26th birthday

Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vic Reynolds (pictured center) briefed the news media on the arrests of Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, Friday. He said that further arrested had not yet been ruled out

Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vic Reynolds (pictured center) briefed the news media on the arrests of Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, Friday. He said that further arrested had not yet been ruled out

A picture shared of Arbery's family. His sister Jasmine spoke on Thursday night about her relief that Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, had been arrested for his murder two and a half months after he was shot dead

A picture shared of Arbery’s family. His sister Jasmine spoke on Thursday night about her relief that Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, had been arrested for his murder two and a half months after he was shot dead

PRESIDENT TRUMP DESCRIBES AHMAUD ARBERY SHOOTING A ‘VERY DISTURBING’

President Donald Trump spoke out about the ‘very disturbing’ footage of the deadly shooting of Ahmaud Arbery Friday as he said that law enforcement was ‘gonna do what’s right’. 

‘I saw the tape and it’s very very disturbing, the tape, it’s disturbing,’ Trump told Fox & Friends. 

‘I looked at a picture of that young man. He was in a tuxedo … I will say that that looks like a really good young guy.’

He also claimed that there may have been a part of the altercation that was not seen on camera. 

‘There could have been things that we didn’t see on tape – off tape and then back on tape – but it was troubling certainly to anyone who watched it. It was a troubling video. 

‘My heart goes out to the parents and the families and friends,’ he added while stating that he believed Georgia governor Brian Kemp would investigate the matter ‘strongly’. 

‘[Brian Kemp] is going to do what’s right. It’s a heartbreaking thing. That was very rough, rough stuff.

‘Justice getting done is the thing that solves the [racial problem]. Again, it is in the hands of the governor and I’m sure he’ll do the right thing. 

‘But they have very good law enforcement in the state of Georgia and I’m sure they’re going to come up with exactly what happened.’

His daughter Ivanka also spoke about the arrest in a tweet Friday which asked why it had taken two months to happen. 

‘While the arrest of 2 suspects in the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery is a critical step towards justice, the question that needs to be asked is why it seemingly took months, the release of a video and corresponding public outrage to catalyze action,’ she wrote. 

‘Thank you @GovKemp [Governor Brian Kemp] for stepping in and taking action as truth, answers and justice are sought.’ 

‘The work is just beginning,’ John Perry, president of the Brunswick NAACP chapter, told the crowd. ‘We can’t stop now. We can’t lose focus and we’ve got to make sure the prosecution gets done.’

Anthony Johnson, 40, said Arbery was his neighbor for about a decade. He said he wants to see the McMichaels get the same treatment in the legal system as black defendants.

‘Just arresting them, that ain’t doing nothing,’ Johnson said. ‘We want them convicted. We want them sent to prison for life.’

Speaking at Friday’s news conference, GBI director Vic Reynolds said of the arrests, ‘We came up fairly quickly with the solid belief that there’s sufficient cause to charge them with felony murder and aggravated assault’. 

But in response to a question about any racial intent, Reynolds said ‘there is no hate crime in Georgia. There isn’t. It is one of four or five states that doesn´t have one’.

Reynolds said that there were still ‘some things that needed to be done’ as part of the investigation. 

‘In a perfect world, we would have preferred to have been asked to become involved in February, of course,’ he added. 

It came as Arbery’s older sister Jasmine told CNN of her relief over the long-awaited arrest of the men allegedly responsible for her brother’s death.

‘We feel a sense of relief,’ Jasmine told Cuomo Prime Time on Thursday night. ‘It’s been a long time, feels like it’s been a long time. So this day was a turning point in recovering my brother’s case and getting justice for him. So we’re relieved and happy.’

‘I believe it was a hate crime,’ his sister Jasmine had said to CNN. ‘There was one black guy and three white guys.

‘This whole situation was senseless. It could have been avoided.’ 

Exclusive photos showed the moment Thursday the father and son ‘vigilantes’ accused of shooting dead unarmed Arbery were arrested by heavily-armed officers in Georgia. 

A four-vehicle convoy from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) pulled up outside the home of Gregory and Travis McMichael at 7.50pm Thursday to take the men into custody on charges of murder and aggravated assault.  

The dramatic arrests came days after leaked cellphone video of the McMichaels’ fatal confrontation with Arbery on February 23 made headlines nationwide, sparking fevered outrage and demands for justice in what the victim’s family called a ‘lynching’. 

The shocking footage showed the two men ‘ambushing’ Arbery as he tried to run past their pickup truck, the younger McMichael getting into a physical fight with Arbery before shooting him with a shotgun.

The father and son were initially not arrested after they claimed they thought Arbery was a burglar after a spate of thefts in their area, and that he attacked them when they tried to make a citizen’s arrest. 

The GBI took over the investigation on Tuesday after the video emerged. Around a dozen GBI officers equipped with bulletproof vests and assault rifles descended on the McMichaels’ two-bedroom $280,000 property in suburban Brunswick to execute arrest warrants Thursday. 

Attorney S. Lee Merritt, who is representing Arbery’s parents, told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s a huge, huge step but it’s only a first step on a very long road to justice.’  

Officers entered the house just before 8pm and emerged minutes later with Gregory McMichael, 64, in handcuffs.

Wearing a scruffy black shirt, cap and jeans the retired cop stared straight ahead and ignored questions from DailyMail.com as he was placed in a police car.

His son Travis, 34, emerged moments later without a struggle, wearing a checked shirt, cap and jeans.

He said nothing as he was led to a vehicle in handcuffs.

Locals emerged from their homes to watch the dramatic swoop, with two people verbally abusing a DailyMail.com photojournalist, calling him ‘scum’ and ordering him to leave.

Investigators were at the house for about ten minutes before they left as abruptly as they had arrived.

A middle-aged woman carrying a young child walked out of the family house, looked up and down the street, before going to a neighbor’s home.  

And in a fresh twist, the agency said it was also investigating threats made towards its officers and people involved in the investigation.  

Attorney Merritt, who is representing Arbery’s parents Wanda Jones Cooper and Marcus Arbery Sr, told DailyMail.com they had no advance warning about the dramatic arrests Thursday night.

Officers entered the house just before 8pm and emerged minutes later with Gregory, 64, in handcuffs

Officers entered the house just before 8pm and emerged minutes later with Gregory, 64, in handcuffs

Wearing a scruffy black shirt, cap and jeans, Gregory stared straight ahead and ignored questions from DailyMail.com as he was placed in a police car

Wearing a scruffy black shirt, cap and jeans, Gregory stared straight ahead and ignored questions from DailyMail.com as he was placed in a police car

Travis said nothing as he was led to a waiting law enforcement vehicle in handcuffs

Travis said nothing as he was led to a waiting law enforcement vehicle in handcuffs

Around a dozen GBI officers equipped with bulletproof vests and assault rifles descended on the McMichaels’ two-bedroom property in suburban Brunswick to execute arrest warrants on Thursday evening

A four-vehicle convoy from GBI pulled up outside the home of Gregory and Travis McMichael at around 7.50pm Thursday

A four-vehicle convoy from GBI pulled up outside the home of Gregory and Travis McMichael at around 7.50pm Thursday

The sight of so many heavily-armed law enforcement officers drew a crowd of neighbors around the house

The sight of so many heavily-armed law enforcement officers drew a crowd of neighbors around the house

A GBI officer is seen checking his phone after both suspects were placed into vehicles

A GBI officer is seen checking his phone after both suspects were placed into vehicles

GBI officers carried out the arrests quickly, leaving the scene about 10 minutes after they arrived

GBI officers carried out the arrests quickly, leaving the scene about 10 minutes after they arrived 

‘They heard about it on the news like everyone else,’ he said.

‘Wanda was extremely relieved but she remains very stoic as she has been since this all started.’ 

Merritt said he was heartened by the fact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had stepped up after the original team of police and prosecutors assigned to the case ‘failed in their duty’ to make arrests.

‘A case like this breeds mistrust within the community. It hurts the people involved, it hurts the law enforcement community, the prosecutorial community, the black community, everyone,’ he added.

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she believes her son, a former football player, was just jogging in the Satilla Shores neighborhood before he was killed on a Sunday afternoon.

Gregory McMichael told police he suspected the runner was the same man filmed by a security camera committing a break-in. He and his grown son, Travis, grabbed guns and began a pursuit in the truck.

The video shows Arbery at a jogging pace on the left side of a road. A truck is parked in the road ahead of him. Gregory is inside the pickup’s bed, while Travis is standing beside the open driver’s side door.

The dramatic arrests come days after leaked cellphone video of the McMichaels' fatal confrontation with Arbery on February 23 made headlines nationwide

The dramatic arrests come days after leaked cellphone video of the McMichaels’ fatal confrontation with Arbery on February 23 made headlines nationwide

Arbery crosses the road to pass the pickup on the passenger side, then crosses back in front of the truck. 

A gunshot sounds, and the video shows Arbery grappling with Travis in the street over what appears to be a shotgun or rifle. A second shot can be heard, and Arbery can be seen punching Travis. A third shot is fired at point-blank range. Arbery staggers a few feet and falls face down.

Brunswick defense attorney Alan Tucker identified himself Thursday as the person who shared the video with the radio station. 

In a statement, Tucker said he does not currently represent anyone involved in the case. 

He said he released the video ‘because my community was being ripped apart by erroneous accusations and assumptions’. 

A 911 call made just minutes before Arbery was shot was released on Thursday morning.   

‘Hello. Err, I’m out here in Satilla Shores. There’s a black male running down the street,’ says the caller, believed to be Gregory. 

‘I don’t know what street we’re on,’ he adds, distracted and out of breath, when the operator asks him for the exact address within the neighborhood. 

Gregory breaks off the call suddenly with an inaudible shout, adding: ‘Goddamn it, c’mon, Travis.’

For the remainder of the 4:46-minute long call, the operator repeatedly asks in vain for information, saying ‘hello, where you at?’ without getting any reply.

That call was one of two placed to 911 relating to Arbery’s supposed suspicious behavior in the moments before the shooting, with a second made to the non-emergency number of the Brunswick Police Department.

‘There’s a guy in the house right now, a house under construction,’ says the caller, whose name has been redacted in the two-minute clip, obtained by DailyMail.com.

He tells the operator the property is at 219 or 220 Satilla Drive, which would be around 500 yards from the home where Travis and Gregory McMichael live.

‘And you said someone’s breaking into it right now?’ the operator asks.

‘No, it’s all open, it’s under construction,’ the caller explains. ‘And he’s running right now, there he goes right now.’

The operator replies: ‘Okay, what is he doing?

‘He’s running down the street,’ the caller says.

‘Okay, that’s fine. I’ll get them out there. I just need to know what he was doing wrong,’ the operator says.

The caller alleges that Arbery had been seen previously in the neighborhood.

‘He’s been caught on the camera a bunch before at night,’ he claims, ‘It’s kind of an ongoing thing out here.’

The operator asks the caller to clarify what the alleged suspect is wearing, saying someone will be sent out to ‘check it out.’

‘Black guy, white t-shirt. And he’s gone running back into the neighborhood,’ the caller adds.

A pile of flowers and other mementos is seen at the site where Arbery was killed on Thursday night

A pile of flowers and other mementos is seen at the site where Arbery was killed on Thursday night

Hours before the McMichaels were arrested, Ahmaud’s mother appeared on Good Morning America and said she she believes the white father and son are being protected by law enforcement. 

‘I think no arrest has been made because of the title that he carried as a retired police officer,’ Jones said. 

‘They don’t feel like he was wrong because he was one of them.’ 

She revealed that she has not been able to bring herself to watch the video of her son’s killing that has spread through social media and sparked outrage. 

‘I don’t think I’ll ever be in a mental state where I can actually watch the video,’ she said. 

She added that her son, who turned 26 on Friday, had a ‘humbling spirit’. 

‘Ahmaud was kind, Ahmaud was well mannered, Ahmaud was loved by his family and peers. 

‘He didn’t deserve to go the way that he went,’ she said. 

Ahmaud's mother Wanda Jones said on Thursday that the two white men were being protected because the father is a former police detective

Ahmaud’s mother Wanda Jones said on Thursday that the two white men were being protected because the father is a former police detective 

Arbery is pictured

Arbery is pictured with his mom , Wanda Jones

‘He was my baby boy that I had on Mother’s Day of 1994. He was his sister and brother’s keeper… his spirit was good. He was a yes ma’am and no ma’am type of fellow’: Arbery is pictured at right with his mom Wanda Jones  

Lee Merritt, the family’s lawyer who previously described Ahmaud’s death as a ‘lynching’, said the second prosecutor involved ought to be hauled before the board of ethics for not disclosing the conflict of interest.  

Speaking on Wednesday, Merritt stated during a press conference: ‘These men were not performing any police function or any duty as citizens of Georgia… these men were vigilantes, they were performing a lynching in the middle of the day.’ 

‘I saw my son come into the world,’ Jones said. ‘And seeing him leave the world, it’s not something that I’ll want to see ever.’ 

She added: ‘He was my baby boy that I had on Mother’s Day of 1994. He was his sister and brother’s keeper… his spirit was good. He was a yes ma’am and no ma’am type of fellow.’ 

Arbery’s father, Marcus, labeled his son’s death a ‘hate crime’.  

‘My young son wasn’t doing nothing – minding his own business, running and working out. And that’s a crime? To work out and run and he ain’t breaking no law? No. Time out.’ 

The footage sparked widespread outrage from viewers across America, with a crowd of protesters assembling in Brunswick brandishing signs and chanting for justice.  

Protesters gathered for a march through Brunswick on Tuesday - the same day shocking footage of Arbery's death went viral

Protesters gathered for a march through Brunswick on Tuesday – the same day shocking footage of Arbery’s death went viral

A larger demonstration is reportedly being planned for this coming Friday

A larger demonstration is reportedly being planned for this coming Friday

PROSECUTOR: UNARMED AHMAUD ‘INITIATED’ FIGHT AND REACHED FOR THE GUN

The second prosecutor to be given the case was George Barnhill. 

In an April 2 letter to the Glynn County Police Department – where Greg McMichael worked – he said neither he nor his son deserved to be charged because they were firstly lawful in pursuing Arbery with their guns and then in shooting him. 

He argued that they were trying to make a citizen’s arrest by chasing Arbery -which is legal in Georgia – and that they had ‘solid probable cause for it’, claiming Arbery was a burglary suspect. 

He said the pair intended to subdue Arbery until police arrived but that Arbery ‘initiated’ a fight by grabbing for Travis McMichael’s gun.  

He went on to say that Travis was lawful in shooting him because he thinks it constitutes a stand your ground killing.  

The start of their fight happens out of the camera’s view but Barnhill said Arbery’s wounds – namely the first of three which was in his right palm – showed he had reached for the gun. 

He went on to say that Travis McMichael feared for his life so did not break the law by using deadly force. 

Lastly, Barnhill claimed Arbery had a ‘history of mental health and prior convictions’. 

Joe Biden and celebrities including LeBron James, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner call for justice for Ahmaud Arbery

 

 

 

Ahmaud Arbery’s death has captured the attention of the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, Joe Biden, who sent out a tweet describing Arbery’s death as ‘murder’. 

‘The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood,’ Biden tweeted late Tuesday along with a link to a Georgia district attorney recommendation that a grand jury hear the case.

‘My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now,’ the presumed Democratic nominee continued in his Twitter post. ‘It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder.’ 

Former Democratic Presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke also tweeted for justice –  stating that the attack was racially motivated. 

Celebrities including LeBron James, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner also posted about the case.  

LA Laker star James tweeted out an impassioned message to his 45 million Twitter followers claiming black people are profiled on the color of their skin. 

‘We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!’ he wrote. 

‘Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family’.  

Rosanna Arquette suggested the McMichaels be charged with murder for their ‘despicable racist heinous crime.’ 

Serena Williams also shared a series of post on her Instagram Stories, making it clear she believed the death was racially motivated. 

‘My crime? BEING BLACK,’ she wrote, assuming the voice of Arbery.  

READ THE POLICE REPORT ON AHMAUD ARBERY’S DEATH



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Two men charged with murder in the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery


This is the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s daily newsletter on race, culture, and inclusive leadership. To get it delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.

Happy Friday! Outrage leads to arrests in the Ahmaud Arbery case, a police shooting is livestreamed on Facebook, and some history behind Sesame Street’s creation.

But first, your week in review, in Haiku.

In an alternate
world, he would have come home from
his run, sweaty and

smiling, grateful to
be able to get outside.
In an alternate 

world, it would be his 
birthday today. And no one
would know, except his

people, who would mark
the day with wishes for his 
next 25 years.

In an alternate
world, we would need no justice,
we would be the peace.

Wishing you a safe and peaceful weekend. 

Ellen McGirt
@ellmcgirt
Ellen.McGirt@fortune.com

.





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