In the moments after Travis McMichael shot Ahmaud Arbery three times with a shotgun, killing the 25-year-old African American who had been jogging through the neighborhood, the 34-year-old white man stood over Arbery’s body and called him a “f*cking n*gger,” according to testimony from a Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigator earlier today.
Rick Dial, who is leading the investigation for the state agency, based his testimony from statements by William “Roddie” Bryan,” who recorded the shooting and who also has been arrested on murder charges.
The statement will likely increase the chances of federal hate crime charges filed against Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, a retired cop. Both men managed to escape charges for two months until the video was leaked, leading to national outrage.
The video, in fact, was released by an attorney friend of Greg McMichael with his approval in an attempt to exonerate him, thinking it would prove that they were only trying to defend themselves from Arbury’s attack when it actually showed it was the other way around.
Bryan at first managed to escape charges but is also facing murder charges after investigators determined he had joined the McMichaels in chasing Arbury, including trying to box him in with his truck.
Investigators are now saying Arbury was struck by Bryan’s truck which certainly makes him more than a witness with a camera.
According to CNN:
Investigators found a swipe from a palm print on the rear door of Bryan’s truck, cotton fibers near the truck bed that “we attribute to contact with Mr. Arbery” and a dent below the fibers, he said.
Though Bryan’s attorney has contested allegations his client took part in the killing, Dial said Bryan first became involved by yelling to the McMichaels, “Do you got him?” when he saw them chasing the 25-year-old jogger. The McMichaels and Bryan have not entered pleas, but lawyers for all three men have proclaimed their innocence.
After yelling out to the McMichaels about Arbery, Bryan joined the chase, and at this point, none of the three had called 911, Dial said.
The McMichaels had already tried to head off Arbery once when Bryan joined the pursuit, the GBI agent said. Bryan tried to block in Arbery as Travis McMichael drove around the block with his father in the bed of the truck.
Bryan “made several statements about trying to block him in and using his vehicle to try to stop him,” Dial said. “His statement was that Mr. Arbery kept jumping out of the way and moving around the bumper and actually running down into the ditch in an attempt to avoid his truck.”
The McMichaels initially tried to claim they were trying to detain Arbury for burglarizing homes but there is no evidence to support that statement. A security video surfaced showing Arbury entering a house under construction but that same camera also captured multiple white people entering the home as well. It is now believed Arbury entered the home to access drinking water during his jog.
According to the USA Today:
Homeowner Larry English confirmed to CNN through the release of new videos that several people had entered the construction site over the course of several months. CNN reported that it obtained 11 surveillance clips from Oct. 25, 2019, to Feb. 23, 2020, from attorney J. Elizabeth Graddy, who is representing English.
Among the people seen entering the site on separate occasions: A man and woman, a man and even children.Earlier, English’s attorney released three security camera clips taken Dec. 17 – more than two months before the shooting – that showed a black man in a T-shirt and shorts at the site. In the final clip, the man walks a few steps toward the road and then jogs away.
Earlier, English’s attorney released three security camera clips taken Dec. 17 – more than two months before the shooting – that showed a black man in a T-shirt and shorts at the site. In the final clip, the man walks a few steps toward the road and then jogs away.
“It now appears that this young man may have been coming onto the property for water,” Graddy said in a statement. “There is a water source at the dock behind the house as well as a source near the front of the structure. Although these water sources do not appear within any of the cameras’ frames, the young man moves to and from their locations.”
George Barnill, the local district attorney, went along with the criminalization of Arbury by claiming the McMichaels had acted in self-defense but that story fell apart after the video surfaced.
According to the Guardian:
George Barnhill, the district attorney for the Waycross judicial circuit in south-east Georgia, advised police in April that Gregory and Travis McMichael should not be charged over the death of Arbery, suggesting that the two had attempted to “stop and hold this criminal suspect” before fatally shooting him.
Barnhill eventually recused himself from the case, under pressure from the Arbery family, as his son had worked in the Brunswick prosecutor’s office alongside Gregory McMichael.
The McMichaels have since been charged with murder after the emergence of video showing the shooting and the intervention of Georgia state investigators. Barnhill faces harsh scrutiny, allegations of racial bias and a state investigation over his handling of the case and why he recommended not bringing charges shortly before officially recusing himself.
Barnhill had taken on the case after another district attorney, Jackie Johnson, had recused herself because Greg McMichael had spent years working as an investigator with her office. Barnhill told the Glynn County Police Department not to arrest the McMichaels because it was a “justifiable homicide.” He then also recused himself, claiming a conflict of interest because his son is a prosecutor in the same district attorney’s office where Greg McMichael had been employed as an investigator.
Watch the video below of the testimony from the GBI investigator which is followed by the video of the shooting.