A video showing the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery has emerged more than two months after the incident occurred.
The video begins with Arbery jogging down a Brunswick, Georgia, street wearing a white T-shirt and shorts. Seconds later, a struggle ensues after the 25-year-old tries to wrestle a shotgun from Travis McMichael, who had pulled up next to Arbery and gotten out of his vehicle armed with the weapon to confront the Black man. Gregory McMichael, Travis’ father, watched from the back of a pickup truck.
The men fought over the gun until shots rang out. Arbery took a couple of steps before he dropped to the ground.
The source of the video is unclear. Activist Shaun King posted it on his Twitter page, but it is unclear how he acquired the footage, WGIG Radio also shared it online and credited an anonymous source before it was deleted.
The duo claimed they pursued Arbery because they witnessed him running through the neighborhood. Gregory McMichael told police after the shooting that he suspected Arbery was responsible for a string of break-ins in the neighborhood. When the senior McMichael spotted Arbery around 1 p.m. on Feb. 23, he alerted his son, and both men armed themselves — the son with the shotgun, the father with a .357 handgun — before taking off after Arbery in the pickup.
“McMichael stated he then ran inside his house and called to Travis [McMichael] and said, ‘Travis, the guy is running down the street, let’s go,’” a police report stated.
After chasing in their truck and attempting to get Arbery’s attention twice, Travis McMichael pulled up next to him and said he wanted to talk, the father told police.
“[Gregory] McMichael stated he saw [Arbery] begin” to “violently attack Travis and the two men then started fighting over the shotgun, at which point Travis fired a shot and then a second later there was a second shot,” the police report continued. “McMichael stated the male fell face down on the pavement with his hand under his body.” The leaked video footage seems to indicate three shots actually were fired.
Neither McMichael has been charged for the death. The previous DA on the case was preparing to invoke Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute to absolve the men of culpability in the slaying. Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Arbery’s family, argued the law does not apply to this case because the deceased was not committing a crime when he was approached.
“According to that law, you actually have to be observing the crime or be in the immediate knowledge of the crime,” Merritt told CNN on Sunday. “The only thing they have ever said is … that Ahmaud stopped by a house that was under construction and he looked through the window. 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.”
Arbery’s death has sparked outcry from people who see it as a modern-day lynching by two white men.
“This type of hatred is taught and handed down for generations. This will never end. This is Amerikkka,” tweeted one viewer.
“I’m traumatized. I just witnessed a murder of a young man who was clearly in danger. They just shot him in broad daylight in the middle of the street,” lamented another person.
“This is just disgusting! I’m sooo triggered they literally hunted this poor man down,” noted another tweeter.
Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden said he wants a grand jury to examine the case but the process might be delayed due to the pandemic.
“I am of the opinion that the case should be presented to the grand jury of Glynn County for consideration of criminal charges against those involved in the death of Mr. Arbery,” Durden said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I have no control over the suspensions due to the pandemic,” he added. “However, I do intend to present the case to the next available grand jury in Glynn County.”
Durden began investigating the case after two prosecutors recused themselves due to conflicts of interest. George McMichael is a former investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
Merritt told CNN the family hopes for an indictment soon.
“We expect action this week,” the lawyer declared.