Nationwide outrage ensued this week over the Georgia shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African-American male.
While there is still much we do not know about the Feb. 23 killing, we do know that Gregory McMichael, a former investigator in the Brunswick district attorney’s office, told police that he saw Arbery running through the neighborhood, believed him to be a suspect in a series of burglaries, and — after he and his son Travis armed themselves — got in a truck and started chasing Arbery.
According to The Associated Press, Wanda Cooper Jones, Arbery’s mother, says her son “was just out for his daily jog.”
On Thursday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that Gregory and Travis McMichael had been arrested and jailed on charges of murder and aggravated assault. The agency said in a news release that the McMichaels “confronted Arbery with two firearms. During the encounter, Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery.”
There has been a quick rush to judgment from people with differing opinions of the case. Before following suit, here are four facts you should know about Ahmaud Arbery.
1. Ahmaud Arbery Reportedly Jogged on a Regular Basis
Arbery’s family and friends are outraged at his death and claim that Arbery was simply out exercising at the time of the incident.
A third man involved in #AhmaudArbery‘s death was identified as William Bryan. Police say he shot the video of Gregory and Travis McMichael chasing and killing Arbery.
No charges have been filed.
His family demanded arrests, their lawyer calling the killing “a modern lynching.” pic.twitter.com/wdvgygDKCC
— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 7, 2020
Reports from those close to Arbery have indicated that he was an avid jogger.
“Everybody in the community knows he runs,” Vaughn said.
2. Ahmaud Arbery Had Prior Convictions
The police’s incident report indicates that the two men who chased Arbery said they believed he fit the description of a suspect who had perpetrated multiple break-ins in the neighborhood.
Court records show that the 25-year-old Arbery had been convicted of multiple crimes in the past.
In 2018, Arbery was convicted of shoplifting and of violating his probation.
The police report of the February incident does not note whether Arbery was armed.
3. The Prosecutor Recused Himself
George E. Barnhill, the district attorney for Georgia’s Waycross Judicial Circuit, has recused himself from the case due to a possible conflict of interest.
Arbery’s mother pushed for Barnhill’s recusal after she found out that his son is employed in the Brunswick district attorney’s office.
Gregory McMichael, one of the two men who pursued Arbery, had been previously employed by the Brunswick district attorney’s office as well.
“She believes there are kinships between the parties (there are not) and has made other unfounded allegations of bias(es),” Barnhill wrote in a letter to the Glynn County Police Department announcing his recusal.
After Barnhill recused himself, Georgia prosecutor Thomas Durden was assigned to the case. Durden is based in Hinesville, Georgia, about 70 miles from where the incident occurred.
4. There May Be Video of Events Preceding the Incident
In a different document, Barnhill wrote that video exists of Arbery “burglarizing a home immediately preceding the chase and confrontation.”
But some legal experts don’t believe that was sufficient justification for him to be chased down.
“The law does not allow a group of people to form an armed posse and chase down an unarmed person who they believe might have possibly been the perpetrator of a past crime,” Michael J. Moore, a former U.S. attorney in Georgia, told The Times.
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