The release of a video purportedly showing the killing of 25-year-old Georgia man Ahmaud Arbery in February has shined a spotlight on the case, and raised questions over why no arrests have been made in connection with his death.
What are the details?
Arbery, who was black, was admittedly pursued on Feb. 23 by two white men in a truck, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael. A third white man was also reportedly involved in chasing Arbery.
Arbery’s family members say he liked to stay in shape and was simply out for a jog. Gregory McMichael told police that there had been several break-ins in the neighborhood, and that Arbery was a suspect who had been caught on surveillance video.
Gregory McMichael, a former Glynn County police officer and retired investigator with the local district attorney’s office, says he was standing in his front yard when he saw Arbery “hauling ass” down the street, so he ran inside and told Travis. The McMichaels each grabbed firearms and jumped in a truck to try and chase Arbery down “in an attempt to intercept him,” according to the police report obtained by The New York Times.
The McMichaels tried to “cut off” Arbery, according to Gregory’s account, but Arbery ran the other away. Then they tried to block him a second time, shouting that they wanted to talk to him, and that is when Arbery was killed.
The police report reads: “[Gregory] McMichael states the unidentified male began to violently attack Travis and the two men then started fighting over the shotgun at which point Travis fired a shot and then a second later there was a second shot.”
Video emerged this week, purportedly showing the footage of what happened when Arbery was shot.
Be warned, it is violent content:
Video shows fatal Brunswick shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
The video was shared by S. Lee Merritt, the attorney for Arbery’s mother, who said of footage, “The series of events captured in this video confirm what all evidence indicated prior to its release—Ahmaud Arbery was pursued by three white men that targeted him solely because of his race and murdered him without justification. This is murder.”
Prior to the release of the video, two prosecutors had recused themselves. The first cited a conflict of interest because Gregory McMichael had worked in her office.
The second was forced to recuse himself at the pressing of Arbery’s mother due to a separate conflict of interest over a professional connection, after arguing against making any arrests in a letter the Glynn County Police Department.
District Attorney George Barnhill wrote that the McMichaels acted lawfully in pursuing Arbery, that Travis McMichael was acting in self-defense, and that “Arbery’s mental health records & prior convictions help explain his apparent aggressive nature and his possible thought pattern to attack an armed man.”
The Times reported that “court records show that Mr. Arbery was convicted of shoplifting and of violating probation in 2018. Five years earlier, according to the The Brunswick News, he was indicted on charges that he took a handgun to a high school basketball game.”
USA Today reported the day that the video was released, the third prosecutor on the case, Tom Durden, announced in a statement, “I am of the opinion that the case should be presented to the grand jury of Glynn County for consideration of criminal charges against those involved in the death of Mr. Arbery.”