Retired Cop & Son Charged With Murdering Unarmed Jogger. GBI acted when local officers dismissed the case
Late Thursday afternoon, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) did what the local police officers of Brunswick county failed to do, charge Gregory McMichael 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael for the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
On February 23, 2020, Mr. Arbery went for a routine jog outside a Brunswick neighbourhood, when Gregory McMichael, retired police officer, and his son chased him down in their pickup truck violently assaulted him and then shot him several times at point-blank range with a shotgun.
The two murder suspects claimed they were making a citizens arrest because the unarmed black man fits the profile of an alleged burglar.
“Mr. Arbery had not committed any crime and there was no reason for these men to believe they had the right to stop him with weapons or to use deadly force in furtherance of their unlawful attempted stop,” said a statement by Merritt, who represents Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper.
“This should have occurred the day it happened,” said Akeem Baker, one of Arbery’s close friends in Brunswick. “There’s no way without the video this would have occurred. I’m just glad the light’s shining very bright on this situation.”
When the case was first brought to the Glynn County police department for investigation, District Attorney Jackie Johnson and a colleague recused themselves sighting conflict of interest.
Prior to the murder of Mr. Arbery, the Glynn County police force has been under a tight microscope for police misconduct.
In 2018, body cam video observed Glynn County officers making jokes with a former colleague about a serious domestic abuse call about a former officer trying to kill his ex-wife. Several weeks later, the officer killed his ex-wife and her partner before committing suicide.
In March 2020, indictments were issued against Glynn County Police Chief John Powell, Vidalia Police Chief Brian Scott and two former Glynn County officers. Multiples charges were laid against the officers including, violation of the oath of office, influencing a witness and criminal attempt to commit perjury. Allegations also surfaced against the Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team for officers having sexual relations with two confidential informants.
After the recusal by Glynn County District Attorney, the case was transferred to neighbouring county Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill’s office, who later exonerated the alleged murders for their crimes.
Barnhill, a decorated officer of 36 years in his reviewing of video affirms the father and son were warranted to use deadly force to defend himself. Barnhill also claimed to have seen over 100 murder cases but did not conclude the killing of Mr. Arbery to be one of them.
Brunswick defence attorney Alan Tucker was the source that shared the video with the public. In a statement, Mr. Tucker said he wasn’t representing anyone involved in the case. He said he released the video “because my community was being ripped apart by erroneous accusations and assumptions.”
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the mother of Mr. Abery said in a statement, “This is the first step to justice, this murderous father and son duo took the law into their own hands. It’s a travesty of justice that they enjoyed their freedom for 74 days after taking the life of a young black man who was simply jogging.”
The news of the arrest has brought some hope to the grieving family that justice for Ahmaud will happen. The family will take the next few days to celebrate the life of their beloved who was taken way too soon, before sitting through months of painful testimonies in a murder trial.
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