UPDATE: Unarmed Man Chased Down And Shot Dead While Jogging In South Georgia
An area resident claims he thought Ahmaud Arbery was a suspect in local break-ins.
A white father and son accused of chasing down and killing an unarmed black man jogging through a Georgia neighborhood are now in police custody.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested Thursday in connection to the February shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced.
Both McMichaels face charges of aggravated assault and murder and are currently being held at the Glynn County Jail.
On May 5, a cellphone video surfaced of what appears to show an encounter between the men leading up to the deadly shooting.
“This is murder,” attorney S. Lee Merritt said. “The series of events captured in this video confirm what all the evidence indicated prior to its release.”
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told CBS the footage proves her son was not committing a crime when he died.
“He was out for his daily jog and he was hunted down like an animal and killed," she said.
Gregory and Travis McMichael have not publicly commented on the case.
ORIGINAL POST: 5/5/20
An unarmed black man was chased down and shot dead after he went for a jog through a South Georgia neighborhood.
According to a police report obtained by The New York Times, Gregory McMichael spotted Ahmaud Arbery, 25, running in suburban Brunswick around 1 p.m. on Feb. 23. McMichael, 64, said he thought the jogger resembled a suspect in a series of area break-ins caught on surveillance video.
McMichael, a former Glynn County police officer and Brunswick District Attorney’s Office investigator, said he grabbed his .357 magnum while his son, Travis McMichael, 34, got a shotgun “because they didn’t know if the male was armed or not,” the police report states.
The men jumped in their truck and followed Arbery, who ran in the opposite direction when the pair tried to cut him off.
The elder McMichael claimed he yelled for Arbery to stop because they wanted to talk to him. When the father and son pulled up to the jogger, Travis McMichael got out of the truck with the shotgun.
According to Gregory McMichael’s account in the police report, Arbery “violently attacked” his son and the two fought over the shotgun. Travis McMichael fired at Arbery twice, killing him.
An attorney representing Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper, raised concerns on CNN about the McMichaels reportedly using self-defense and Georgia’s citizen arrest laws as justification for the shooting.
“The decision to rely on the citizen's arrest statute is really a recent invention, prior to that they just simply said it was self-defense,” Lee Merritt said on the May 3 broadcast.
“According to that law, you actually have to be observing the crime or be in the immediate knowledge of the crime," the lawyer continued. “The only thing they have ever said is ... that Ahmaud stopped by a house that was under construction and he looked through the window.”
Merritt added: “We don't know if that happened or not, but even if that did happen that is not a felony that would invoke the citizen's arrest statute that would make this allowable."
The Glynn County Police Department said in an Apr. 28 statement that there is an “ongoing investigation” into Arbery’s death.
The state attorney general’s office has assigned the case to a prosecutor in Hinesville to review. Two other district attorneys previously recused themselves because of possible conflicts of interest due to Gregory McMichael’s ties to the Brunswick D.A.’s Office.
Gregory and Travis McMichael have not publicly commented on the case, and neither has been arrested or charged with a crime.
“I’m feeling very discouraged at this point,” Cooper recently told First Coast News. “I just think about how they could allow these two men to kill my son and not be arrested. That’s what I can’t understand.”
Arbery’s former Brunswick High School football coach believes the homicide was the result of a case of mistaken identity.
“People are known for jogging that area all the time and we all know Maud likes to jog the area,” Jason Vaughn said.
The shooting victim’s best friend, Demetris Frazier, insisted the case was “not about black [or] about white.”
“We can’t make this about race,” he said of losing Arbery, who had attended South Georgia Technical College and was pursuing a career as an electrician. “It’s about what’s right and wrong and what happened.”
Atlanta’s WXIA-TV reported that civil rights organization The Southern Poverty Law Center is demanding a federal investigation into the deadly shooting.
Read more: The New York Times