On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man, was pursued and fatally shot while jogging near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia. Arbery had been pursued by three white residents—Travis McMichael and his father Gregory, who were armed and driving a pickup truck, and William “Roddie” Bryan, who followed Arbery in a second vehicle—and was confronted and fatally shot by Travis McMichael.
The Glynn County Police Department (GCPD) said the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office advised them on February 23 to make no arrests. 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 himself from the case due to connections between his son and Gregory McMichael. Barnhill requested recusal on April 7. The case was ultimately transferred to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, the fourth prosecutor’s office to handle it.
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, District Attorney Tom 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.
The GBI arrested the McMichaels on May 7 and Bryan on May 21, charging them with felony murder and other crimes. 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” as Arbery lay dying. A grand jury subsequently indicted each of the three men on charges of malice murder, felony murder (4 counts), aggravated assault (2 counts), false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
The fact that the McMichaels were not arrested until 74 days after the killing, after the video went viral, sparked debates on racial profiling in the United States.
THIS IS A CLEAR REFLECTION OF “SYSTEMIC RACISM”. EVIDENCE WAS COVERED UP. ACTION WAS ONLY TAKEN AFTER A VIDEO WENT VIRAL.
We demand an investigation by the federal Department Of Justice of The Brunswick District Attorney’s Office for covering up a hate crime and thereby participating in a hate crime.
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