Department of Justice reportedly, is weighing hate crime charges in Ahmaud Arbery killing
New video emerged of the unarmed victim, inside construction site he is accused of robbing, without commiting a crime, before he was shot dead by father and son vigilantes
The McMichaels said they ‘thought he was a burglar’ while videos show Ahmaud walked into the construction site in Brunswick, Georgia, looked around and then walked back out
Gregory and Travis McMichaels claim they thought Ahmaud was a burglary suspect who had broken into homes near them
The owner of the construction site said they never reported theft to police or the McMichaels, who they don’t know
The home owners released the video to show that Ahmaud did not steal anything and say they had nothing to do with the young man’s death
Georgia attorney general is set to name a new prosecutor in the Ahmaud Arbery case, the fourth in three months
The case passed between three prosecutors over three months before charges were finally brought
McMichael Sr worked as a cop and DA’s investigator in the district attorney’s office before retiring a year ago
Father and son were only arrested after a cellphone video of Arbery’s killing went viral bringing federal and state attention to the case
One prosecutor allegedly blocked police efforts to arrest the pair, another summarily decided the killing was ‘justifiable homicide’ and refused to press charges
Arbery’s alleged killers, Gregory McMichael, [left], and his son Travis McMichael [right] have both been charged with murder and aggravated assault over the February 23 shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
The U.S. 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 Georgia.
Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man, was out jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23 when he was chased by Gregory and Travis McMichael in their pick-up truck and then shot dead by Travis after a brief struggle.
It has taken nearly three months and three different prosecutors for the father and son to be arrested and charged with his killing. Georgia’s Attorney General is now investigating the handling of the case amid claims that prosecutors passed it off to protect 64-year-old Gregory, a former police detective who recently worked in the local district attorney’s office.
Ahmaud Arbery [left], who was black and unarmed, was jogging on a residential road outside Brunswick when white ex-cop Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, cornered him [right], and fatally shot the 25-year-old during a scuffle on Feb, 23 afternoon
The case has sparked outrage around the world and some say it is proof of persistent racism in the South. Over the weekend, people ran to honor what would have been Ahmaud’s 26th birthday and armed protesters took to the street.
The McMichaels’ defense has been that they were making a citizen’s arrest after suspecting Ahmaud of breaking into and robbing homes in their neighborhood.
In a claim upheld by the second prosecutor assigned the case, Travis, 34, then exercised his ‘stand your ground ‘right by shooting Ahmaud, because the unarmed 25-year-old reached for his gun.
On Monday, Justice Department pokeswoman Kerri Kupec said: “The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia have been supporting and will continue fully to support and participate in the state investigation.
“We are assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes charges are appropriate,” Kupec said in a statement.
Self-appointed community vigilante Travis Michael, seen [right], striding towards the unarmed jogger, shotgun in hand, claims he exercised his stand your ground right by shooting Ahmaud, claiming the unarmed 25-year-old reached for his gun
The McMichaels have both been charged by the state of Georgia with murder and aggravated assault which carry maximum prison sentences of life.
The state has no hate crime statutes, but the federal charge carries a maximum prison sentence of life when the hate crime results in death.
A federal prosecution would supersede a state case and could negate it if the defendants were found guilty and the need for a state prosecution reduced.
The controversially inept handling of the is under scrutiny as new surveillance video emerges of Arbery walking into a construction site on the day of his death.
he can be see, looking around the property and then leaving empty handed. Moments later He is chased down by the McMichaels in their Ford F150 truck. They are atmed, initiate contact and gun down the unarmed man.
The new video obtained by News4Jax appears to undermine the suspect’s shaky burglary suspect claim. It shows Ahmaud walking into an under-construction house in Brunswick, looking around and then leaving without taking anything.
In the two months before Ahmaud’s killing, there were no reports of suspected burglaries in the area,
Furthermore, the owner of the under-construction property has spoken out to say they have no links to the McMichaels whatsoever.
Cobb County Georgia District Attorney Joyette Holmes [photo], is expected to inherits the Arbery murder just as surveillance video of Arbery walking into a construction site on the day of his death, emerged. He is seen looking around the property and then leaving empty handed only to be was gunned down minutes later
In a new development, Georgia’s attorney general was expected to appoint a special prosecutor Monday to lead the Ahmaud Arbery case, according to multiple reports and an attorney for the victim’s family.
If confirmed, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes would be the fourth prosecutor involved in the highly publicized killing, which came to light last week after a video of the Feb. 23 shooting was posted on social media, “Another huge WIN for #JusticeForAhmaud!” attorney S. Lee Merritt wrote Monday on Twitter, saying the decision was in response to the “family’s demand.” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s office could not immediately be reached for comment, but Merritt said officials were still reviewing Holmes’ team for potential conflicts. An official announcement was expected later on Monday, according to news station WSB-TV in Atlanta.
S. Lee Merritt, Esq.@MeritLaw
Another huge WIN for #JusticeForAhmaud! At the family’s demand— a special prosecutor will replace Tom Durden the S. GA prosecutor that sat on the case until video of Ahmaud’s murder was leaked. Joyette Holmes is out of @cobbcountygovt. Her office is being reviewed for conflicts.
Holmes who is black inherits the murder case of a black and unarmed man, who was jogging on a residential road outside Brunswick when white ex-cop Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, cornered him and fatally shot him.
The suspects claimed they were chasing a suspect in a series of break-ins in the neighborhood and were able to evade arrest for more than two months.
Although authorities in two jurisdiction refused to arrest or indict the pair for three months, they were charged with murder and aggravated assault last week, two days after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the probe.
This still from the surveillance video showsAhmaud Arbery inside the under-construction home on February 23, the day he was killed.
He walked into the house then left empty handed. Ahmaud had been out jogging when he came across the home. His family says the footage shows he was not a burglar
Arbery’s family attorneys said they’ve seen surveillance video of the construction site – that no illegal activity took place. The person, believed to be Arbery, was on the property for less than three minutes.
The video was shared by the property owner who said they had never had any contact with the McMichaels let alone did they call for them to investigate any break-ins.
The attorney representing Ahmaud’s family says the video shows that at most, Ahmaud would have been guilty of trespassing.
It’s unclear what time the video on the construction site was taken.
According to the police report into his death, Ahmaud was shot dead at 1.46pm.
A time stamp on a different surveillance camera video says he entered the construction site at 2.13pm. It’s possible that camera was inaccurately running an hour fast.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says it is now investigating the video along with the cellphone footage of Ahmaud’s killing that went viral.
The property is owned by Larry English. Over the weekend, he released a statement through an attorney to say he neither called for the McMichaels to go after Ahmaud, nor did he condone in any way how they killed him.
‘Second, it is crucial to understand that the English family — the homeowners — were not part of what the McMichaels did.
‘The first accounts suggested a link between the McMichaels and the homeowners, but there is none.
‘The English family had no relationship with the McMichaels and did not even know what had occurred until after Mr. Arbery’s death was reported to them.
‘After seeing Mr. Arbery’s photo in news reports, Larry English did not even think Mr. Arbery was the person that appears in this video.
‘Even if it had been, however, Mr. English would never have sought a vigilante response, much less one resulting in a tragic death,’ his attorney, Elizabeth Graddy, told First Coast News.
Parade of ineptitude: Brunswick DA, Jackie Johnson, [left], recused herself because McMichael used to work in her office. Weeks later, the second prosecutor George Barnhill [right] recused himself after the family contested his decision that he won’t press charges. His son is an assitant DA in Johnsons office
Ahmaud was killed while out jogging on February 23. It is unclear if he had come from his mother’s house, which is just under two miles from where the shooting unfolded. The McMichaels said they saw him ‘hauling a**’ down Satilla Drive and that he’d been seen on surveillance cameras inside homes near them but it’s unclear which homes they were referring to. He was shot and killed at an intersection not far from the houses. ‘First, and most important, the English family — the homeowners — want Ahmaud Arbery’s parents to know that they are very sorry for the loss of their son and they are praying for them. The narrative of events is perplexing. – Gregory and Travis McMichael had gone out in their car with guns to chase Arbery because they mistook him for a burglar.
When they caught up to him, Travis got out of the car.
Gregory told investigators his son and himself told Arbery that they wanted to talk to him.
However, that he attacked Travis, instead. A struggle ensued and Travis fired his gun twice, killing Ahmaud, 25. Days after the killing the firsst prosecutor assigned the case, Jackie Johnson, recused herself. The Brunswick District Attorney, stepped down from the case because Gregory McMichael for 20 years worked in her office as an investigator, five of those years under her supervision.
Earlier this week, two Glynn County commissioners said DA Johnson, also blocked police from arresting the McMichaels because she was friends with Gregory McMichael.
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.
‘She shut them down to protect her friend McMichael,’ Glynn County Commissioner Allen Booker told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. By mid-April the Second prosecutor says he won’t press charges, affter stating that Travis has the right to shoot in self-defense because said Ahmaud Arbery initiated the fight. He then repeated the pattern of recusing himself.
When George Barnhill was first given the case, he 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.
DA George Barnhill, Sr recused himself because his son [photo], also namedGeorge Barnhill, works in the office where McMichael used to work, the Brunswick DA’s office. He told police in February that the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery by two white men was a ‘justifiable homicide’
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.
In his letter, Barnhill added that criminal charges against the McMichaels was unwarranted, citing the criminal history of Arbery’s brother and cousin.
His conclusion is noteworthy because in the video recording of the event, the first shot is fired however when the pair are out of frame. When the camera pans back to them, they were struggling again to the side of the vehicle.
It was also revealed that he told police in Glynn County on February 24, the day after the shooting, that there was insufficient evidence to charge Travis and Greg McMichael.
The prosecution game of musical chairs continued when the third prosecutor passes it on to grand jury on May 5. Tom Durden stated at the start 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. But on May 7, theGeorgia Bureau of Investigation fileed charges of murder and aggravated assault against the Gregory and Travis McMichael.
Ahmaud’s parents’ lawyer confirmed that it is him in the video.
‘This video is consistent with the evidence already known to us.
‘Ahmaud Arbery was out for a jog. He stopped by a property under construction where he engaged in no illegal activity and remained for only a brief period.
‘Ahmaud did not take anything from the construction site. He did not cause any damage to the property,’ Lee Merritt said.
Gregory McMichael [shown in cuffs], and his son Travis McMichael were arrested at their home in Brunswick, Georgia, on Thursday by agents from GBI
An officer with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is seen leading the shooter, Travis McMichael, out of the home in handcuffs
Georgia state investigators announced on Sunday that they have arrested a 20-year-old man suspected of creating a fake Facebook account and using it to post a ‘hoax’ threat against protesters angry over the killing of unarmed black man 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Sunday said state police arrested Rashawn Smith and charged him with dissemination of information relating to terroristic acts.
Smith allegedly created a fake Facebook page and used it to make threats against the protesters.
He was taken into custody in Midway, a town about 50 miles north of Brunswick.
Earlier in the day, the GBI said it had ‘been made aware of a Facebook post that contains a threat to future protests related to Ahmaud Arbery’.
It was not immediately clear if Smith has an attorney who could comment on the charge.
Hundreds of people gathered alongside some 300 bikers in Brunswick on Saturday to honor Arbery.
The bikers were seen kneeling at the spot where Arbery was fatally shot on February 23 by two white men who claim they were making a citizen’s arrest as they suspected him of a neighborhood burglary.
Hundreds of people alongside bikers gathered in Brunswick to honor Arbery on Saturday. He would have turned 26 on Friday
Several of those in attendance near the Sidney Lanier Bridge wore face masks and t-shirts with the phrase ‘I run with Maud’ in tribute to Arbery.
The memorial ceremony on Saturday was held just a day after protesters gathered at the same site demanding justice for Arbery on what would have been his 26th birthday.
Georgia’s attorney general on Sunday asked the Department of Justice to investigate the handling of Arbery’s killing.
‘We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,’ Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement.
‘The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers.’
Under Georgia law, someone who isn’t a sworn police officer can arrest and detain another person only if a felony is committed in the presence of the arresting citizen. Georgia AG asks the US Justice Department to investigate Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting as it’s revealed that Barnhill the prosecutor who recused himself said slaying by two armed white men was ‘justifiable homicide’, witghin hours og the incident.
Georgia’s attorney general on Sunday asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the investigation into the killing of Arbery.
Last week, a Justice Department spokesman said the FBI is assisting in the investigation and the DOJ would assist if a federal crime is uncovered.
Arbery was killed on February 23 but no arrests were made until Thursday after national outrage over the case swelled last week when video surfaced that showed the shooting which was blasted as a ‘lynching’.
‘We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,’ Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement.
‘The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers.’
Attorneys for Arbery’s mother and father applauded Carr for reaching out to federal officials.
‘We have requested the involvement of the DOJ since we first took this case,’ the family’s attorneys said in a statement.
‘There are far too many questions about how this case was handled and why it took 74 days for two of the killers to be arrested and charged in Mr. Arbery’s death.’