An indictment unsealed on September 2, 2021, charges the former District Attorney in Brunswick, Georgia, of allowing her “favor and affection” for a former investigator to keep her from charging him with the murder of a Black man on his daily jog around town in 2020.
On February 23, 2020, the jogger, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbury, caught the attention of the retired investigator, 65-year-old Greg McMichael, who thought Arbury might be the suspect in a neighborhood robbery. Together with his 35-year-old son, Travis, McMichael pursued Arbury in his pickup truck. The McMichaels are White, as is a third man they got to follow them and shoot a short cellphone video of the pursuit, 51-year-old William “Roddy” Bryan.
The video shows McMichaels’ truck pull ahead of Arbury and stop, at which point Greg McMichaels emerges and scuffles briefly with Arbury before shooting and killing him.
Then, the Brunswick Judicial District Attorney, Jackie Johnson, recused herself from the case because Greg McMichaels had worked for her office. But then, the new indictment charges, she recommended that the state Attorney General hand the case to Glynn Judicial District Attorney George Barnhill—without disclosing she had already consulted with him about the case.
The indictment adds, she also instructed the Brunswick Police Department (BOD) not to arrest Travis McMichael.
Barnhill later refused to charge either father or son, saying they were legally armed and within their rights to attempt to stop someone they thought was a fleeing crime suspect. He also provided a video from a nearby construction site showing Arbury entering it.
But the site’s owner reported nothing was stolen from it, leading the Arbury family to sue the county, Johnson and Barnhill, for orchestrating what they called a “cover up” of the murder.
Meanwhile, state Attorney General Chris Carr (R) asked for a federal investigation, leading to the April 28, 2021 arrest of all three men involved in the pursuit of Arbury on federal hate-crime charges. At the time, Georgia had no hate-crime statute.
Johnson’s indictment accuses her of violating her oath of office, a felony that carries a potential prison term of up to five years. A second misdemeanor count accuses her of obstructing justice by instructing Stephanie Oliver and Stephan Lowrey, BPD Officers, not to arrest Travis McMichael.
Sources: Law & Crime, New York Times
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