The parents of a 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery who was killed by two white men armed with guns called for immediate arrest after they faced the prospect of waiting a month or longer before a Georgia grand jury could consider bringing charges.
The incident happened on February 23rd when Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down while he went out for a jog outside the port city of Brunswick. According to an incident report filed by Glynn County police, Arbery was shot after two men spotted him running in their neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon. Gregory McMichael told police that he and his adult son believed Arbery had robbed houses in the neighborhood. They armed themselves with guns before getting in a truck to pursue him. The father said his son, Travis McMichael, got out of the truck holding a shotgun, and Arbery “began to violently attack.” He said Arbery was shot as the two men fought over the shotgun, according to the police report.
After Arbery was shot, the police report says, Gregory McMichael turned him onto his back to see if he was armed. The report doesn’t say whether he had a weapon.
Video caught on cellphone shows the killing. The video surfaced online Tuesday and has gone viral. Since the release of the video large numbers of crowds have gathered in the neighborhood Arbery was killed, and the state opened its own investigation.
No arrests have been made or charges filed in coastal Glynn County more than two months after the killing. Jackie Johnson, the district attorney for Glynn County, recused herself from the case because Gregory McMichael worked as an investigator in her office. He retired a year ago.
George Barnhill, the first outside prosecutor on the case, stepped aside in mid-April at the urging of Arbery’s family, and he has a son who works as an assistant prosecutor for Jackie Johnson.
Now, an outside prosecutor placed in charge of the case said he wants a grand jury to decide whether criminal charges are warranted, and that won’t happen till June since courts remain closed due to the coronavirus.
Attorney for Arbery’s family, Lee Merritt, said that the father and son should be arrested now before a grand jury decides to indict them. Merritt also says this should the U.S. Justice Department should also investigate the death as a hate crime. “These men were vigilantes, they were a posse and they performed a modern lynching in the middle of the day,” said Lee Merritt.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the shooting.
Many state leaders have shown support to Arbery including Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, and Former Vice President Joe Biden.
.@GBI_GA Director Reynolds has offered resources & manpower to D.A. Durden to ensure a thorough, independent investigation into the death of #AhmaudArbery. Georgians deserve answers. State law enforcement stands ready to ensure justice is served. https://t.co/ktLiPf7LoY
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 6, 2020
— GA AG Chris Carr (@Georgia_AG) May 6, 2020
The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood. My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder. https://t.co/alvY5WjdHx
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 6, 2020