Ahmaud Arbery is the man from Georgia who was gunned down in Brunswick, Georgia, February 23 while jogging by an ex-cop. Ahmaud Arbery was chased down by two men, a father, and son, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael who have not been charged yet. The video of the shooting was posted on May 5, the same day prosecutors said a grand jury will hear evidence in the case and decide if the McMichaels will face charges. The release of the video on Tuesday created an outcry on social media and in Brunswick, Georgia as a large crowd of demonstrators marched in the neighborhood where Arbery was killed demanding justice for Mr. Arbery. The family has hired Lee Merritt to get justice for Ahmaud.
Ahmaud Arbery Age
Ahmaud Arbery was 25 years old at the time of the shooting that took place on February 23.
Ahmaud Arbery Family
Arbery’s mother is Wonder Cooper and his father is Marcus Arbery.
Ahmaud Arbery Death
Arbery was out running in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick in Georgia’s Glynn County early in the afternoon on 23 February.
Ahmaud Arbery Shooter
In a police report, Gregory McMichael says he saw Mr. Arbery and believed he resembled the suspect in a series of break-ins. He and his son armed themselves and pursued him in a pick-up truck. In the police report, Gregory McMichael says he and his son said “stop, stop, we want to talk to you” and that Mr. Arbery had attacked his son. Shots were fired, with Mr. Arbery falling to the street.
The 25-year-old Arbery was black. The McMichaels are white. Gregory McMichael, a 64-year-old former police and investigator for a local district attorney’s office, told police after the shooting that he and his 34-year-old son suspected Arbery was involved in burglaries that had occurred in the neighborhood, according to a police report released by the Glynn County Police Department.
Ahmaud Arbery Family Statement
Arbery’s family and friends say he was not involved in any burglaries and it was a case of mistaken identity. Jason Vaughn, Arbery’s high school football coach, told WJXT-TV, “people are known for jogging in that area all the time and we all know Maud likes to jog the area. He would stop and, sometimes in the middle of his workout, he’d play basketball with the younger kids and at the game, he’d go back to jogging. That’s the kind of person he was.”
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper told CNN her son jogged and ran everyday and she never worried about him because he wasn’t bothering anyone. Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ‘My kid was murdered. That’s all I can say. He ran like that every day all his life. He ran in his neighborhood and that one too. That’s the only place he ever had a problem.”
Ahmaud Arbery Shooting Video
On Tuesday, a 36-second video of his killing was released and has gone viral sparking national outrage and local protests near Brunswick, GA. It was released and posted to YouTube on May 5 and according to the New York Times, the video was recorded by a third man who had joined the McMichaels in pursuing Arbery. The video had previously been turned over to investigators before it was made public.
In the video, Arbery can be seen running down the middle of the road behind the McMichael’s white pickup truck. The camera moves for two seconds and Arbery cannot be seen. Yelling can then be heard as Arbery runs around the right side of the truck and toward Travis McMichael who was armed with a shotgun. A shot is then fired and Arbery and Travis McMichael begin struggling over the shotgun while Gregory McMichael, who can be seen in the bed of the truck draws his shotgun. A second gunshot is then heard while Arbery and Travis McMichael are outside of the video frame. The two men then appear in the video where a third shot is heard. Arbery then stumbles away from Travis McMichael and collapsed to the ground at which point the video ends.
According to a police report police were called about 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 23, to the area of Satilla Drive and Holmes Drive for shots fired. The responding officer said Arbery was found on the ground ‘breeding out’ and he later died at the scene.
Gregory McMichael told the officer there had been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood where the burglar was caught on surveillance video. Gregory McMichael told the officer he was in his front yard and saw a man he believed to be a suspect in the burglaries “hauling ass” down Satilla Drive toward Buford Drive. According to the report;
McMichael stated he then ran inside his house and called to Travis McMichael and said, ‘Travis the guy running down the street lets go.’ McMichael stated he then went to his bedroom and grabbed his .357 Magnum and Travis grabbed his shotgun because they ‘didn’t know if the male was armed or not.’ McMichael stated, ‘the other night’ they saw the same male and he stuck his hand down his pants which lead to believe the male was armed.
The duo then drove down Satilla Drive toward Buford Drive and tried to have Arbery stop. After shooting him, McMichael said he went to check to see if Arbery had a gun of which he was not.
Ahmaud Arbery Attorney
Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing Arbery’s family said in a statement after the video surfaced online, “The series of events captured in this video confirm what all the evidence indicated prior to its release – Ahmaud Arbery was pursued by three white men that targeted him solely because of his race and murdered him without justification. This is murder.”
“The series of events captured in this video confirm what all the evidence indicated prior to its release— Ahmaud Arbery was pursued by three white men that targeted him solely because of his race and murdered him without justification. This is murder.” pic.twitter.com/v4TAs0RjO7
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 5, 2020
Merrit’s then added that the McMichaels who he refers to as “armed assailants” tried to block Arbery’s path with the truck while he was running and then confronted him with the shotgun. Merritt said the video shows Arbery trying to avoid “armed strangers” before the first shot is fired.
A Facebook Page “I Run With Maud,” has been started to organize support for Arbery and his family and to call for charges to be brought against the McMichaels.
McMichaels Involvement with Law Enforcement
The case has been passed among multiple law enforcement agencies and prosecutor’s offices because of Gregory McMichael’s ties to law enforcement. He recently retired as an investigator with the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office and he was previously a Glynn County Police Department officer.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself from the case and it was forwarded to Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill. He also recused himself because his son works in the Brunswick prosecutor’s office. Tom Durden, the prosecutor for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit, is now handling the case.
On May 5, Durden issued a statement that he plans to present the case to a grand jury in Glynn County when courts reopen.
Before recusing himself, Barnhill said in a letter there was no probable cause for charges because the McMichaels were legally carrying firearms under Georgia’s open carry law. According to the New York Times, the father and son were within their rights to pursue a “burglary suspect” and attempt to make a citizen’s arrest. Georgia law says, “a private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge.”
In the letter, it also mentions that Arbery has prior convictions and mental health issues while also asserting that Travis McMichael was, “allowed to use deadly force to protect himself.”
In a statement, Merritt retorted, “There is no reasonable argument justifying the murder of Mr. Arbery.” Merritt said the Brunswick Police Department’s failure to arrest the McMichaels after seeing the video “violated their duty to the people of Brunswick, Georgia.”
The statement read in part:
While this video was withheld, a false narrative was constructed where the victim was slandered as a criminal with mental health concerns. The Glynn County Police Department has both the authority and the legal imperative to make an arrest today pending the presentation of this case to a grand jury. The newly assigned DA, Tom Durden, has concluded this case must be brought before a grand jury for a criminal indictment. Due to (the) Georgia Supreme Court decision to suspended grand juries temporarily due to the pandemic, these men must be taken into custody pending their indictment.
Neither officers nor McMichaels have commented about the shooting or the video footage. Further, it is not clear if the McMichaels have hired attorneys.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 6, 2020
“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!!
Joe Biden tweeted;
The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood. My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder. https://t.co/alvY5WjdHx
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 6, 2020
“The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood. My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder.”