Ahmaud Arbery: Georgia father-son duo accused of shooting black jogger in 'cold blood' are avid hunters
The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery has sent shockwaves across the country, with many likening it to a hate crime stemming from institutionalized racism. On February 23, father and son duo Gregory and Travis McMichael pursued and shot Arbery to death while he was jogging in broad daylight.
25-year-old Arbery was unarmed at the time of the incident. Gregory, 64, and Travis, 34, were not arrested after the slaying.
According to a letter obtained by the New York Times, the prosecutor in Brunswick argued "there was not probable cause to arrest the McMichaels because they were legally carrying firearms, had a right to pursue a burglary suspect and use deadly force to protect themselves."
A graphic video of Arbery's death began making rounds of the internet on Tuesday. According to reports, the footage was captured by a third man on the scene -- whose identity has not been revealed -- as he followed Gregory and Travis driving in a pickup truck in pursuit of Arbery.
The disturbing clip shows Arbery and Travis engaging in a violent altercation while struggling over a shotgun. Arbery was subsequently shot multiple times by the father-son duo, before he collapsed on the road.
According to the New York Times, Gregory is a retired investigator and former police detective. During interrogation, he told law enforcement that he and his son thought Arbery was armed and that they pursued him because he looked like a suspect in a spate of recent break-ins in the neighborhood.
Furthermore, Gregory claimed that Arbery began to attack Travis "violently" and that his son only shot the 25-year-old after the pair began to struggle over a shotgun.
The complete police report from February 23 is available here.
A public outcry ensued shortly after the video surfaced, and it has been gaining momentum ever since.
“After careful review of the evidence, I am of the opinion that the case should be presented to the grand jury of Glynn County for consideration of criminal charges," Tom Durden, a prosecutor for Georgia’s Atlantic Judicial Circuit, wrote in a statement.
While Gregory and Travis have taken down all social media accounts, archived web data shows they are avid hunters.
According to documents from Brunswick, 64-year-old McMichael previously worked as a police detective and was the chief investigator for District Attorney Stephen Kelley for a while. He retired from the force last year. Meanwhile, it is unclear what his son Travis does for a living.
The papers showed that McMichael was involved in the conviction and 2009 death row execution of Robert Newland. Newland was convicted and executed for stabbing Carol Sanders Beatty, a 27-year-old neighbor, to death on May 30, 1986.
McMichael was the one who noted down Beaty's dying words, according to the Florida Times-Union. As a detective in Glynn County at the time, he reportedly also testified at Newland’s trial.
McMichael was already serving as the chief investigator for former District Attorney Stephen Kelley by 2009. As of now, Kelley is serving as a judge for the circuit of the 1st Superior Court of Brunswick. McMichael would go on to work as an investigator for another decade and finally retire in 2019.
Considering, it is obvious that Gregory McMichael has longstanding ties with law enforcement in the Brunswick area. This has led to a series of complications with Arbery's case. Jackie Johnson, who is the current District Attorney for Glynn County, has had to recuse herself from the case because McMichael, at some point, worked as an investigator in her office.
Meanwhile, two prosecutors had to recuse themselves from the case due to professional connections with McMichael.
Tom Durden is, thereby, the third prosecutor assigned to the case, according to the New York Times.