Ahmaud Arbery was killed on February 23, 2020 about two miles from his home in a neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia. His family reported that he was out for a jog when he was killed by a father and son. The men that killed him, Travis and Greg McMicheal, allegedly believed he was a robber within their neighborhood and pursued him in their vehicle. The McMichaels armed themselves with shotguns and, after killing Ahmaud Arbery,left the scene in their pick up truck. The McMichaels reported that upon confronting Arbery with their shotguns, he became aggressive and tried to fight back. Travis McMicheal and Ahmaud Arbery were fighting and struggling for the shotgun when Travis McMicheal shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery.
This altercation was caught on tape by William Bryan who was in the vehicle behind the McMichaels and caught the whole fight on his phone while he was stuck behind the parked truck. Initially, the McMichaels claimed that William Bryan was a part of the pursuit of Arbery, but the claim has been refuted. William Bryan had no prior connection to the McMichaels and has cooperated fully with the police.
The case has taken two months to come to fruition. William Bryan’s footage of the fatal shooting appeared in the news last week and inspired national outrage. Celebrities, professional athletes, and politicians all weighed in on the issue and brought it to national attention. Upon the footage making the news, many people were exasperated to find that the McMichaels had not yet been arrested. The pair was arrested Thursday, May 7th after all of the national attention made it necessary for law enforcement to take action..
The case has been held up by the fact that the McMichaels have connections to the local prosecuting attorneys.The attorneys have stepped down and denied the case at the request of Arbery’s defense. Advocates have called on the State Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor. However, the state attorney already appointed a prosecutor two months ago after the first two prosecutors bowed out. The Glynn County Police Department also played a role in the delay of the case. Greg McMichael was previously an employee for the Glynn County Police Department for over twenty years.The police department supposedly “was making excuses and ignoring the problem,” which caused a delay in the case.
Because of the nature and handling of the crime, the Georgia Attorney General has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the case. The Department of Justice is considering the request and “assessing all of the evidence” to determine whether federal hate crime charges are appropriate.