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What Happened to Ahmaud Arbery?

In the afternoon, on February 23, 2020 Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man was jogging through the Satilla Shores neighborhood -- minutes away from his own home -- in Brunswick, Georgia when two local white men -- Gregory (64) and his son Travis McMichael (34) -- shot and killed him. According to a letter from one of the District Attorneys involved in the case, Bryan William, another white man, filmed portions of the killing.

In their statements to police, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael claim they shot Ahmaud Arbery, who was unarmed, in self-defense as they were attempting to apprehend him. The McMichaels alleged there had been "several break-ins" in the area, and when they saw Ahmaud Arbery jogging in the neighborhood, they assumed him to be the alleged suspect.
 
Gregory McMichael and his son, armed at least two firearms, pursued Ahmaud Arbery in a vehicle. Gregory McMichael stated Ahmaud Arbery “attack[ed]” him and his son, resulting in Travis McMichael firing at least one shot. Ahmaud Arbery died a few minutes later. 
 
No evidence has emerged indicating that Ahmaud Arbery had committed burglary or any other crime, including attacking the McMichaels, leading up to the fatal confrontation with the McMichaels. 
 
Wanda Cooper, Arbery’s mother, told CNN that when police notified her of her son's death, police told her that her son had been involved in a burglary, and that there had been a confrontation between her son and the homeowner as well as a struggle over a gun. 
 

Have the Men Who Shot Ahmaud Arbery Been Arrested?

Yes. On Thursday, May 7, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael on charges of murder and aggravated assault of Ahmaud Arbery. They were denied bond the following day. On June 4 Glynn County Judge Wallace E. Harrell ruled there was enough probable cause to proceed with charging Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan Jr. on all charges related to the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.
 
This represents 73 days AFTER the McMichaels shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery and TWO days AFTER the release of the video of Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael shooting and killing Ahmaud Arbery and the Glynn County Police Department requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assistance in the investigation Gregory and Travis McMichael shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery.

What’s the Current State of the Investigation into the Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery and the investigation into the handling of the case?

On May 11, 2020, Attorney General (AG) Chris Carr appointed Cobb County Judicial Circuit Distrct Attorney Joyette Holmes to lead the prosecution of Gregory and Travis McMichael for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. 

At the request of AG Chris Carr the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the actions of the Brunswick and the Waycross Judicial Circuits District Attorneys in their handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case.

AG Chris Carr officially requested the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case. As part of the request, the Attorney General asked the DOJ to investigate communications and discussions between the Brunswick and the Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorneys. 

The investigation into the murder of Ahmaud Arbery is still an open and active investigation being led by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

What’s the History of the Investigation into the Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery?

District Attorney #1: Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office Involvement
The Glynn County Police Department (GCPD) and the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office conducted the initial investigation into the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. 
 
On February 27, 2020, Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson, recused herself from the case due to conflict of interest, because Gregory McMichael had been an investigator in the District Attorney’s office for over 30 years. 
 
District Attorney #2: Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office Involvement
On February 27, 2020, the case was transferred to Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill. In a letter sent to the GCPD Investigation Division in early April, DA Barnhill stated he did not believe there were “grounds for an arrest of the three parties” and detailed why he believed the McMichaels were justified in killing Ahmaud Arbery. 

District Attorney Barnhill stated that he recused himself due to his son’s work in the Brunswick District Attorney's Office on a prior case involving Gregory McMichael and Ahmaud Arbery. DA Barnhill was aware of this conflict weeks before recusing himself from the case. 
 
District Attorney #3: Atlantic Judicial Circuit Involvement
On April 13, 2020, the case was transferred to its 3rd District Attorney’s Office, the office of Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden. 
 
On May 5, 2020, District Attorney Durden publicly stated his intention to convene a grand jury to weigh criminal charges against the men who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery.
 
On May 5, 2020, District Attorney Tom Durden requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigate the shooting and killing of Ahmaud Arbery. 

District Attorney #4: Cobb County District Attorney
On May 11, 2020, AG Chris Carr appointed Cobb County Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joyette Holmes to lead the prosecution of Gregory and Travis McMichael. 

Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Following the request of AG Chris Carr the GBI launched an investigation into the actions of the Brunswick and the Waycross Judicial Circuits District Attorneys in their handling of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting. 

On May 6, 2020, the GBI initiated their investigation into the shooting and killing of Ahmaud Arbery. 

On May 7, 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael on charges of murder and aggravated assault of Ahmaud Arbery. 

On May 21, 2020, the GBI arrested William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who filmed the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, and charged him with Felony Murder and Criminal Attempt to Commit False Imprisonment.

U.S. Department of Justice
On May 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice stated that they are weighing whether to bring federal hate crimes against the two men accussed in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

On May 10, 2020, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr officially requested the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case. As part of the request, the Attorney General asked the DOJ to investigate communications and discussions between the Brunswick and the Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorneys. 


What Role has the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Played?

Although the GBI did not have original jurisdiction to investigate the shooting and killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the Bureau got involved after local law enforcement and/or government officials requested it. 
 
On May 21, 2020, the GBI arrested William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who filmed the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, and charged him with Felony Murder and Criminal Attempt to Commit False Imprisonment. On May 7, 2020, the GBI arrested Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael on charges of murder and aggravated assault of Ahmaud Arbery. Prior to that, on May 5, 2020, the GBI announced that the Glynn County Police Department requested the GBI’s help in investigating the public release of partial video footage showing the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. Later that day, the GBI announced that District Attorney Tom Durden had also officially requested for the GBI to investigate Arbery’s death. 

What Role has the Georgia Attorney General (AG) Played?
Although the Georgia Attorney General (AG) did not have original jurisdiction to handle the case of the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, the AG does have jurisdiction to appoint someone to handle a case, when a District Attorney is disqualified from prosecuting the case. The AG has also requested the GBI and DOJ investigate the actions of the first two district attorneys in their handling of the case.

Who is in Charge of the Investigation into the Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery?
Cobb County Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joyette Holmes is in charge of the prosecution and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation.