More than two months ago, a 25-year-old black man named Ahmaud Arbery was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Georgia when he was chased down and killed by two white men who accused him of breaking into homes. A video of the shooting was recorded by a third man who was also pursuing Arbery, suspecting him of burglarizing homes.
That video was just leaked online, showing Arbery was killed after struggling with the former cop who was wielding a shotgun.
Nevertheless, prosecutors declined to charge Greg McMichael because they claim he was acting in self defense – even though it is clear from the video he and his son chased him down and confronted him with guns. Prosecutors also claim they have video of Arbery burglarizing a home but they have not made that video public.
But if it’s anything like the video that was just leaked, then the video is far from conclusive. As of now, there is no evidence that Arbery was involved in any break-ins. He was just an avid jogger, according to his family.
According to the New York Times:
In a separate document, Mr. Barnhill stated that video exists of Mr. Arbery “burglarizing a home immediately preceding the chase and confrontation.” In the letter to the police, he cites a separate video of the shooting filmed by a third pursuer.
Mr. Barnhill said this video, which has not been made public, shows Mr. Arbery attacking Travis McMichael after he and his father pulled up to him in their truck.
The video shows Mr. Arbery trying to grab the shotgun from Travis McMichael’s hands, Mr. Barnhill wrote. And that, he argued, amounts to self-defense under Georgia law. Travis McMichael, Mr. Barnhill concluded, “was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself.”
He noted that it was possible that Mr. Arbery had caused the gun to go off by pulling on it, and pointed to Mr. Arbery’s “mental health records” and prior convictions, which, he said, “help explain his apparent aggressive nature and his possible thought pattern to attack an armed man.”
According to documents obtained by The New York Times, a prosecutor who had the case for a few weeks told the police that the pursuers had acted within the scope of Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute, and that Travis McMichael, who held the shotgun, had acted out of self-defense.
Also, a review of reported burglaries in the area came up with only one incident, a stolen handgun from McMichael’s truck on January 1, according to The Brunswick News.
Only one burglary, an automobile burglary, was reported to county police in the Satilla Shores neighborhood between Jan. 1 and Feb. 23, according to documents obtained by The News in a public records request to the Glynn County Police Department. It involved a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm pistol stolen Jan. 1 from a pickup truck outside 230 Satilla Drive, the home of Travis McMichael, according to the police report.
Gregory McMichael moved the 2011 Ford F-150 from one spot to another in front of the home at around 9:30 a.m. Jan. 1, forgetting to lock it afterward, Travis McMichael told police. About an hour later, Travis McMichael found the handgun’s empty holster on the unlocked truck’s seat, the report said.
McMichael spent seven years as a Glynn County police officer before spending two decades working as an investigator with the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, retiring on May 31, 2019, according to the Brunswick News.
This is how McMichael explained the incident to police, according to First Coast News.
McMichael told police he saw Arbery running down Satilla Drive, he then ran inside his home and asked his son Travis McMichael to help him confront Arbery.
McMichael and his son got a shotgun and handgun because they “didn’t know if Arbery was armed or not.”
The police report says the father and son got into their truck and drove down Satilla Drive toward Burford Drive. Gregory McMichael stated when they arrived at the intersection of Satilla Drive and Holmes Drive, they saw Arbery running down Burford Drive.
In the report, McMichael says they attempted to cut off Arbery, but he turned around and began running back in the other direction.
McMichael and his son continued to follow Arbery, they shouted “stop, stop, we want to talk to you.” McMichael pulled up next to Arbery. Travis McMichael got out of the truck with the shotgun.
According to statements, that’s when McMichael says Arbery attacked his son and the two men started fighting over the gun at which point Travis McMichael fired a shot. A second later there was a second shot.
But now that the video has surfaced, prosecutors are now singing a different tune, claiming they will present the case before a grand jury, according to the Associated Press.
“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,” said outside prosecutor Tom Durden, who was brought in to investigate the case to show there is no conflict of interest.
The video is embedded at the top of the story and posted below as well.
UPDATE: The father and son have been arrested on murder charges.