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Things You Didn’t Know About Ahmaud Arbery and His Killing
How well do you know about Ahmaud Arbery? In today’s article, we’ll be stressing on things you didn’t know about Ahmaud Arbery and everything about his killing. Considering the fact that he was not famous, but the untimely death has come to a shock for people that know about Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud Marquez Arbery is a 25-year-old African-American man who was fatally shot near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia, on the 23rd of February, 2020. According to sources, he was actually jogging on Holmes Road before the intersection with Satilla Drive in the Stella Shores neighborhood. We’ve packaged the full gist for you, but before then, we still need to know about Ahmaud Arbery.
One other thing to know about Ahmaud Arbery was that before his untimely death, he had enrolled at South Georgia Technical College, preparing to become an electrician, just like his uncles. So to say, he decided to wait and take a break at first, which made him take the opportunity to run about every day. About a mile and a half into his usual route, Ahmaud Arbery would cross the four lines of Jekyll Island Causeway into the subdivision of the Satilla Shores. Now read further below in order to be able to know about Ahmaud Arbery.
All You Need to Know About Ahmaud Arbery
Below consists of key facts that you didn’t know about Ahmaud Arbery as regards his personal life and killing.
About His Personal Life
- Ahmaud Marquez Arbery was born on the 8th of May, 1994 (25 years).
- He was the youngest of three children.
- His nicknames were “Maud” and “Quez”.
- When he was younger, his family worried because he never seemed to want to go out with friends.
- Arbery entered Brunswick High School and graduated in 2012.
- Just like his brother, Marcus Jr., Ahmaud also featured for the Brunswick Pirates football team.
- Arbery had a talent for raising the spirits of the people around him.
Now that we know about Ahmaud Arbery ‘s background and personal life, we’ll now tell you about his killing and state of the investigation.
The Killing of Ahmaud Arbery
- On the 23rd of February, 2020, Arbery was shot dead by a father (Gregory) and son (Travis McMichael) who told police they grabbed guns and pursued him in a pickup truck because they believed he was responsible for break-ins in their neighborhood.
- The event was recorded on video by a third Satilla Shores resident, William “Roddie” Bryan, who was following Arbery in a second vehicle.
- The death and events following the investigation have sparked debates about the lack of racial equality, and have been reported internationally.
- The Glynn County Police Department (GCPD) said the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office advised them to make no arrests, while the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office denied that such advice was given to the GCPD by either the Brunswick District Attorney or her Assistant District Attorneys.
- On February 24, Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, who had not yet been assigned to the case, advised the GCPD that no arrests should be made.
- Barnhill officially took over the case on February 27.
- On April 2, Barnhill again advised the GCPD to make no arrests, while announcing his intention to recuse from the case due to connections between Gregory McMichael and Barnhill’s son.
- Barnhill requested a recusal on April 7. The case was ultimately transferred to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, the fourth prosecutor’s office to handle the case.
- At the behest of Gregory McMichael, a local attorney provided a copy of the video of the shooting to local radio station WGIG, who posted it to their website on May 5.
- The video went viral, having also been posted on YouTube and Twitter.
- Within hours, Durden said a grand jury would decide whether charges would be brought, and accepted an offer from Governor Brian Kemp to have the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigate the case.
- On May 7, the GBI arrested the McMichaels and charged them with felony murder and aggravated assault.
- On May 21, Bryan was arrested and charged with felony murder and attempted false imprisonment.
- On June 4, additional evidence was presented by the prosecutor to support the murder charges, including a statement to the GBI by William Bryan that Travis McMichael said “fucking nigger” while standing over Arbery’s body. The alleged use of a racial slur could factor into a federal investigation looking into whether or not hate crime charges will be brought.
- The fact that the McMichaels were not arrested until 74 days later, after the video went viral, sparked debates on racial profiling in America.
- Numerous religious leaders, politicians, athletes, and other celebrities condemned the incident.
- The GCPD and the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office were nationally criticized for their handling of the case and the delayed arrests; Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr formally requested the intervention of the FBI in the case on May 10, which the FBI granted the following day.
- A video of the incident was recorded by William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels, using his cellphone from his vehicle as he followed Arbery jogging down a neighborhood road. From the camera’s perspective, Arbery is seen jogging on the left side of the road when he encounters a white pickup truck that has stopped in the right lane. Gregory McMichael is standing in the truck bed, while Travis McMichael initially stands beside the driver’s door with a shotgun. The vehicle of the person who was recording comes to a stop behind Arbery and the pickup truck.
- As Arbery approaches the pickup truck, shouting can be heard. Arbery then crosses from the left side of the road to the right side and runs around the passenger’s side of the truck. After passing the truck’s front, Arbery turns left. Meanwhile, Travis McMichael, holding his shotgun, approaches Arbery at the truck’s front. The camera’s view of the confrontation between Arbery and Travis is then momentarily blocked.
- Several media accounts of the video report that the audio of the first gunshot seems to be heard before Arbery and Travis struggle with each other. Some media accounts first to report a struggle, and then mention the gunshot(s). Other media accounts describe that it was “not possible” to see from the video what was happening when the first gunshot was fired or report that the truck “blocks the view of how the men first engage each other” with regard to when the gunshot is heard.
- Travis and Arbery grapple over the shotgun in view of the camera. While struggling, both men disappear off camera view on the left side of the camera frame, after which the audio of a second gunshot is heard. When they come back into the camera view, Arbery appears to throw punches and tries to grab the shotgun. A third gunshot is heard being fired by Travis at point-blank range as Arbery appears to throw a right-handed punch at his head.
- Arbery recoils back, stumbles, and collapses in the middle of the road face-down while Travis walks away. Gregory McMichael, who has taken out a handgun but not fired, then runs towards the other two men.
What’s the State of the Investigation and Court Precedings?
Police responded and searched the house along with a neighbor, but found no one. However, surveillance video from that evening showed a man who reportedly looked like Arbery, who briefly walked in and out of the home under construction, without taking anything.
- On February 23, in the minutes before the shooting, a security camera installed on a residence across the street from a house under construction in the neighborhood recorded a man identified by his family as Arbery coming down the road and walking into the house.
- A second security camera installed within the house recorded a man identified as Arbery by his family looking at the interior of the house. Approximately five minutes later, he left and resumed going down the street.
- After the man left the house, the first camera on the residence across the street showed a white pickup heading in the man’s direction, followed a few minutes later by two police cars.
- Two calls to 9-1-1 were also made just before the shooting. In the first call, a male caller said another man was in a house that was “under construction”.
- The GCPD responded to the scene immediately after the shooting. The responding officer’s report relied almost entirely on an interview with Gregory McMichael, who was described as a witness.
- Gregory said he was in the yard of his house when he saw an unidentified man running by. He said he recognized the man from a prior recent incident “the other night”, in which he said he saw the man reach into his pants as if for a weapon. He called to his son Travis and said “the guy is running down the street; let’s go”.
- Gregory brought a .357 Magnum revolver, while Travis brought a shotgun in their pickup truck. The McMichaels said they pursued the man because he resembled a suspect in a string of local burglaries, although according to the police there had been only one recent car burglary in the neighborhood.
- Travis attempted to cut off the man with the truck. The man then turned and began “running back in the direction from which he came”.
- The report states a third person, who was identified as “Roddy [sic]”, also tried to cut off the man, but failed.
- Gregory said they saw the unidentified man and yelled: “Stop, stop, we want to talk to you”, and that they pulled up to the man, with Travis exiting the truck with the shotgun.
- Gregory claimed the man “began to violently attack Travis” before two shots were fired. The man died at the scene after “bleeding out”, the report concluded. Authorities later identified the man as Arbery.
- The autopsy report released by the GBI ruled Arbery’s death was a homicide and that it was caused by three gunshot wounds he sustained “during a struggle for the shotgun” that fired those shots. One gunshot wounded the upper left chest, one gunshot wounded the lower middle chest, and one gunshot caused a “deep, gaping” graze wound to the right wrist. There were no signs of alcohol or drugs in Arbery’s body.
- The case started under the jurisdiction of Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, but because Gregory McMichael had previously worked as an investigator in her office, she recused herself from further involvement in the case.
- On February 27, 2020, the case was transferred by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office to the Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office. The Waycross Judicial Circuit is the immediately adjacent circuit to the south of Brunswick Judicial Circuit.
- On March 8, two Glynn County commissioners, citing discussions with Glynn County police, accused Johnson, or her office, of preventing the McMichaels’ immediate arrest.
- On May 9, the GCPD said that on February 23, the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office “became involved in the investigation … The McMichaels were deemed not to be flight risks and officers were advised by the [Brunswick District Attorney’s Office] that no arrests were necessary at the time.”
- Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill gave Glynn County police “an initial opinion the day after the shooting” on February 24, according to a memorandum written by Barnhill to Glynn County police on April 2.
- The Georgia Attorney General’s Office on May 10 characterized the following events as happening on February 27: the Georgia Attorney General’s Office received the request from Jackson’s office to transfer Arbery’s case to another prosecutor. On the same day, the Georgia Attorney General’s Office appointed Barnhill as the presiding prosecutor. Neither Jackson nor Barnhill informed the Georgia Attorney General’s Office that Barnhill had already actively participated in the case by reviewing evidence and giving his opinion on whether arrests should occur.
- On April 1, Arbery’s autopsy report was given to Barnhill. On April 2, Barnhill wrote a memorandum to Glynn County police, recommending that no arrests be made. Barnhill wrote that the McMichaels were within their rights to chase “a burglary suspect, with solid firsthand probable cause”; that “Arbery initiated the fight”; that Travis McMichael “was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself” when “Arbery grabbed the shotgun”.
- Barnhill pointed to Georgia’s citizen arrest law as justifying the killing of Arbery (the Georgia law states that either a crime must be committed within the citizen’s “immediate knowledge”, or there must be “reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion” for a felony crime).
- Barnhill alleged that videos of Arbery entering the home under construction on the day of the shooting showed Arbery “burglarizing a home immediately preceding the chase and confrontation.”
- The owner of the unfinished home, who was 90 miles away at the time of the shooting, later said, “I’ve never had a police report [on my property], or anything was stolen from my property or any kind of robbery.”
- Barnhill also wrote that “Arbery’s mental health and prior convictions help explain his apparent aggressive nature and his possible thought pattern to attack an armed man.” Lastly, Barnhill informed the Glynn County police that he was going to recuse from the case due to connections between his son and Gregory McMichael.
- On April 7, Barnhill wrote to Georgia’s Attorney General, Chris Carr, saying Arbery’s “family are not strangers to the local criminal justice system”, pointing to Arbery’s brother and cousin’s tangles with the law.
- Barnhill also told Carr that there was “video of Arbery burglarizing a home immediately preceding the chase and confrontation”.
- The Georgia Attorney General’s Office on May 10 characterized the following events as happening on April 7: it received a request from Barnhill’s office to transfer Arbery’s case to another prosecutor, and that along with the request, Barnhill revealed that he had learned “about 3-4 weeks ago” that Arbery had previously been prosecuted in an earlier case by his son, a prosecutor for the Brunswick Circuit District Attorney’s Office, and that one of the defendants had served as an investigator on the same prosecution (this is a reference to Gregory McMichael, who was employed by the Brunswick D.A.’s Office).
- The request did not explain why Barnhill had delayed in recusing his office from the case, did not mention that Barnhill had advised Glynn County police on April 2 to make no arrests, and omitted Barnhill’s involvement on February 24, instead only recounting his involvement “upon taking the case”.
- On April 13, after Barnhill’s recusal, the Georgia Attorney General’s Office appointed Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden to take over the handling of the case. The Atlantic Judicial Circuit is the immediately adjacent circuit to the north of Brunswick Judicial Circuit.
- A video of the shooting was uploaded on May 5 on the website of a local radio station, WGIG, which it received from Gregory McMichael, but the video was removed within two hours for being too graphic. The video was then uploaded to YouTube that day.
- The Arbery family’s attorney posted a 28-second segment of the video on Twitter. The video of the shooting went viral.
- Glynn County police requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation look into how the video was publicized.
- TMZ published a longer version of the video on May 5.
- The Guardian published an edited version of the video on May 6.
- On May 7, Alan David Tucker, a local criminal defense attorney, came forward to say he was the one who had released the cell phone video, which had been recorded by William “Roddie” Bryan.
- WGIG confirmed that Tucker had provided the video to the radio station.
- Tucker had informally consulted with the suspects in the case but said he had not been retained to represent anyone involved. Tucker said that he released the video to provide “absolute transparency” due to “erroneous accusations and assumptions” and that “my purpose was not to exonerate them or convict them.”
- Within hours of the video of the shooting became public, Tom Durden, the district attorney for Georgia’s Atlantic Judicial Circuit, said that he would present the case to “the next available grand jury in Glynn County” to decide if charges should be filed, once-grand juries convene in the state (due to the state’s COVID-19 pandemic, no grand juries in Georgia are convening through June 12).
- The GBI found probable cause to charge Gregory and Travis McMichael within 36 hours of taking the case, and, on May 7, arrested the pair on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault. The McMichaels was booked into the Glynn County Jail.
- At an appearance before a magistrate the following day, the McMichaels were both denied bond. Speaking on the decision to charge the McMichaels, GBI Director Vic Reynolds told reporters, “We based our decisions on two things, one is facts and the other is the law. Whatever the facts are we apply the law. I am very comfortable in telling you there is more than sufficient cause for felony murder.”
- Pursuant to Durden’s request, the Georgia Attorney General’s office reassigned the case on May 11 to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, led by Joyette M. Holmes, the fourth D.A. to take on the case.
- On May 21, William “Roddie” Bryan was charged with felony murder and attempt to commit false imprisonment. According to the arrest warrant, Bryan tried “to confine and detain” Arbery without legal authority by “utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions” before Arbery was shot. The GBI said their investigators found “a number of pieces of video” that linked Bryan to the case.
- At June 4, 2020, preliminary hearing, a Glynn County Magistrate Court judge ruled that there was probable cause for the murder charges against all three men. The prosecution presented additional evidence to the court to support the murder charges, including hours of testimony from the lead GBI investigator. The investigator testified that the three men “chased, hunted down and ultimately executed” Arbery and that none of the three had called 9-1-1.
- Although the legislation initially stalled in the General Assembly, after the legislature returned following the COVID-19 recess, the House passed the legislation 152-3 with passage by the Senate thought likely. The involvement of the GCPD as the primary investigator in a case involving its former officer Gregory McMichael was controversial.