After video surfaced of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder, charges were brought against a father and son
It took nearly three months and a horrifying video of his murder being made public, but the first steps have finally been taken in seeking justice for Ahmaud Arbery, a black man allegedly killed by two white men while going for a jog in a Georgia neighborhood.
According to ABC News, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, were arrested yesterday, May 7th, 2020, and will be booked into the Glynn County Jail. The arrest and charges only happened after video surfaced this week of Arbery being shot by the younger McMichael and stumbling into the middle of the street. According to The New York Times, the elder McMichael is a former officer with the Glynn County Police Department, retiring last year. Before his retirement, he also worked as an investigator at the local DA’s office.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be in a mental state where I can actually watch the video. I had others that watched it that shared what they saw and that just was enough,” Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, told ABC News in an interview that aired yesterday on GMA. The footage shows Arbery, who would’ve turned 26 years old today, jogging through a neighborhood in Brunswick, GA before encountering the McMichaels.
An unidentified third party took the video of the attack and Arbery family attorney S. Lee Merritt tells CNN they hope that person will also be arrested. Merritt says the state’s “stand your ground” law doesn’t allow people to be “lying in wait.”
“We don’t believe that this was even arguably self-defense or a citizen’s arrest, but even under their sort of peculiar theory, they can’t set a trap,” he says. “They can’t stop someone in the middle of the road, hop out with (guns), create a dangerous situation and avail themselves of stand your ground or self-defense. That’s just not how the law’s designed to work.”
The McMichaels first told police they got in their truck with their guns to go after Arbery after seeing him jogging, because they thought he matched the description for a suspect involved in several recent break-ins. CNN reports that no string of break-ins matching what the McMichaels’ alleged had been reported to Glynn County Police in the weeks prior to Arbery’s death.
Before the video surface, Gregory McMichael told police his son got out of the truck holding a shotgun and was then attacked by Arbery, according to a police report obtained by ABC News. The video contradicts their statement as it shows Arbery running around the truck’s passenger side only to emerge in a tussle with the younger McMichael, who was holding a shotgun. No weapons were found on Arbery at the scene.
“It’s outrageous that it has taken more than two months for Ahmaud Arbery’s executioners to be arrested, but better late than never,” Ben Crump, an attorney representing Arbery’s family, said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “This is the first step to justice. This murderous father and son duo took the law into their own hands.”