Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old African-American man, was fatally shot near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia, while jogging on Holmes Road just before entering its intersection with Satilla Drive in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.
Arbery had been pursued and confronted by two whiteresidents, Travis McMichael and his father Gregory, who were armed and driving a pickup truck.
The event was recorded on video by a third Satilla Shores resident, William "Roddie" Bryan, who was following Arbery in a second vehicle.
Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
Map of Georgia showing location of Glynn County
|Date||February 23, 2020|
Unincorporated Glynn County, Georgia, U.S.
William "Roddie" Bryan
|Charges||Felony murder (T. McMichael, G. McMichael, Bryan)|
Aggravated assault (T. McMichael, G. McMichael)
Attempted false imprisonment(Bryan)
The Glynn County Police Department(GCPD) said the Brunswick District Attorney's Office advised them on February 23 to make no arrests,while the Brunswick District Attorney's Office denied that such advice was given to the GCPD by either the Brunswick District Attorney or her Assistant District Attorneys. On February 24, Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill, who had not yet been assigned to the case, advised the GCPD that no arrests should be made. Barnhill officially took over the case on February 27.
Later on April 2, Barnhill again advised the GCPD to make no arrests, while announcing his intention to recuse from the case due to connections between Gregory McMichael and Barnhill's son. Barnhill requested recusal on April 7.
Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden was appointed to the case on April 13.
At the behest of Gregory McMichael, a local attorney provided a copy of the video of the shooting to WGIG, a local radio station, who put it on the station's website on May 5. The video went viral,having also been posted on YouTubeand Twitter. Within hours, Durden said a grand jury would decide whether charges would be brought, and accepted an offer from Governor Brian Kemp to have the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigate the case. On May 7, the GBI arrested the McMichaels and charged them with felony murder and aggravated assault. On May 21, Bryan was arrested and charged with felony murder and attempted false imprisonment.
The fact that the McMichaels were not arrested until 74 days later, after the video went viral, sparked debates on racial profiling in America.
Numerous religious leaders, politicians, athletes, and other celebrities condemned the incident.
The GCPD and the Brunswick District Attorney's Office were nationally criticized for their handling of the case and the delayed arrests; Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr formally requested the intervention of the FBI in the case on May 10, which the FBI granted the following day.
Video of the shooting
A video of the incident was recorded by William "Roddie" Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels, using his cellphone from his vehicle as he followed Arbery jogging down a neighborhood road. From the camera's perspective, Arbery is seen jogging on the left side of the road when he encounters a white pickup truck that has stopped in the right lane.Gregory McMichael is standing in the truck bed, while Travis McMichael initially stands beside the driver's door with a shotgun. The vehicle of the person who was recording comes to a stop behind Arbery and the pickup truck.
As Arbery approaches the pickup truck, shouting can be heard.
Arbery then crosses from the left side of the road to the right side and runs around the passenger's side of the truck. After passing the truck's front, Arbery turns left.
Meanwhile, Travis McMichael, holding his shotgun, approaches Arbery at the truck's front. The camera's view of the confrontation between Arbery and Travis is then momentarily blocked.
Several media accounts of the video report that the audio of the first gunshot seems to be heard before Arbery and Travis struggle with each other. Some media accounts first report a struggle, and then mention the gunshot(s). Other media accounts describe that it was "not possible" to see from the video what was happening when the first gunshot was fired, or report that the truck "blocks the view of how the men first engage each other" with regard to when the gunshot is heard.
Travis and Arbery grapple over the shotgun in view of the camera.While struggling, both men disappear off camera view on the left side of the camera frame, after which the audio of a second gunshot is heard.When they come back into camera view, Arbery appears to throw punches and tries to grab the shotgun. A third gunshot is heard being fired by Travis at point-blank range as Arbery appears to throw a right-handed punch at his head. Arbery recoils back, stumbles, and collapses in the middle of the road face-down while Travis walks away. Gregory McMichael, who has taken out a handgun but not fired, then runs towards the other two men.