Georgia man held for 'terroristic acts' after threatening Ahmaud Arbery protesters using fake FB account
MIDWAY, GEORGIA: A man has been arrested after he created a fake Facebook account to threaten people protesting the killing of unarmed black man Ahmaud Arbery. Rashawn Smith, 20, has been charged with dissemination of information relating to “terroristic acts”, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said.
The GBI officials said they were "made aware of a Facebook post that contained a threat to future protests related to Ahmaud Arbery” on Saturday, May 9, at about 11.55 pm. They also alleged that the 20-year-old black man had "created a Facebook user ID of an unwitting individual to post a hoax. This is an ongoing and active investigation."
Officials on Sunday, May 10, announced that they took Smith into custody in Midway, Georgia. Later, he was booked into the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, which is probing the alleged hoax threat alongside the FBI.
This comes after Ahmaud's father Marcus Arbery Sr opened up about the tragic loss of his son who was fatally shot by two white men two months ago. The 25-year-old was allegedly killed in Brunswick by a father and son duo, 64-year-old former police office Gregory McMichael and 34-year-old Travis McMichael, on February 23 on a street in broad daylight while he was jogging.
The pair allegedly suspected him to be a burglar running around the neighborhood. Ahmaud was shot at least twice and was reported dead on the scene.
Arbery Sr said his son's murder was "lynching" and an act of racism by the father-son duo.
"I’ve dealt with racism my whole life here. Everybody’s supposed to be equal. I got to live without my son and they lynched him. It’s just hard. He didn’t deserve that," he added.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s attorney general has asked federal prosecutors on Sunday, May 10, to investigate local law enforcement’s response to the killing of Ahmaud. The GBI took the McMichaels into custody on Thursday, May 7, and charged them with aggravated assault and murder in the February shooting.
State Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement that he has asked the US Justice Department to open an investigation into how the murder case of Ahmaud was handled by two local prosecutors, district attorneys for the Brunswick and Waycross judicial circuits, and the Glynn County Police Department.
"We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset. The family, the community, and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers," Carr said.
A video of the assault was recently released on social media, leading to a widespread racial outcry in the country with many questioning why the suspects were arrested only after the outrage. The viral clip appears to show the two white men were waiting for Arbery as he jogged down the street before opening fire.
However, local prosecutors had reportedly refused to charge the pair initially. The district attorney, who was previously assigned the Ahmaud's case, reportedly told police that he did not see grounds for an arrest of the McMichaels or the man who recorded the video of the incident from his vehicle.
Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill, in the memo, said that the father-son duo and their neighbor William Bryan, who shot the video, were in "hot pursuit of a burglary suspect" when they shot and killed Ahmaud.
"It appears it was their intent to stop and hold this criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived. Under Georgia law, that is perfectly legal," Barnhill wrote in the memo.