A young African-American man was on his daily jog when he was accosted by two white men in a pickup truck, and shot to death. The two men, Gregory and Travis McMichael, admit they pursued Ahmaud Arbery in their truck, but still claim that they killed him in self-defense. The case will be heard by a Grand Jury,
Video taken on a cell phone shows the jogger passing the stopped truck, where one man stands on the truck bed and one by the driver’s side door. The jogger veers to go around the passenger side of the truck, away from the man on the ground. Then both re-enter the frame from the right, the gunman having apparently moved toward the passenger side of the vehicle while he was out of the frame. An apparent gunshot can be heard, and the two appear to be fighting over a rifle. Two more shots can be heard on the video before the young man goes down and the two gunmen move together toward the body.
Be warned, the video below is disturbing to watch.
According to USA Today, the men admit that they saw Arbery running, armed themselves, and pursued him in a vehicle. Gregory McMichael told police that he thought Arbery looked like someone accused of burglaries in the area. He says that he and his son, Travis, called for the jogger to stop and talk to them, and claims that Arbery attacked Travis physically and that the shooting was an act of self-defense.
CNN reports that charges have not yet been filed, but that District Attorney Tom Durden has stated an intent to have the case heard by the next available Grand Jury.
The McMichaels have since stated that they intended to perform a citizen’s arrest. Gregory McMichael is a former investigator for the District Attorney in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, having retired about a year ago. Two District Attorneys have recused themselves from the case for possible conflict of interest.
However, Lee Merritt, attorney for Arbery’s family, was willing to speak about the citizen’s arrest law and stated that it does not give a person the right to detain anyone except when actually observing the alleged crime.
Furthermore, tapes from the 911 call reportedly do not show the McMichaels claiming anything about a crime. When asked what the jogger had done, the attorney says, the men replied, “He’s a black man running down our road.”
It’s not clear when a Grand Jury will be available to hear the case since the response to a global pandemic currently prohibits that action.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com