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Ahmaud Arbery 'trespassing' on construction site 'justifies' him being followed by father-son duo: Attorney

However, civil rights attorneys have argued that Gregory and Travis McMichael had other alternatives than chasing Arbery
UPDATED MAY 12, 2020
(Georgia Bureau of Investigation)
(Georgia Bureau of Investigation)

New video footage related to the Ahmaud Arbery shooting is currently being reviewed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has drawn different opinions from attorneys involved in the case.

According to the GBI, the additional footage and photographs are being reviewed as part of the active case.

“It is important to note that this footage was reviewed at the beginning of the GBI investigation and before the arrests of Gregory and Travis McMichael,” the GBI said.

A statement from the attorneys representing Arbery's family reads, in part, as follows: “Our office has reviewed the surveillance video which appears to show a person, believed to be Ahmaud Arbery, entering a property under construction. The individual remains on the property for under 3 minutes before continuing to jog down the road. This video is consistent with the evidence already known to us."

But law enforcement did have probable cause to make a trespassing arrest if it got to that point, according to Attorney Rod Sullivan, who is not associated with the case.

“And it really gives the two McMichaels, father and son, a justification for following Mr. Arbery at least to the scene where the altercation occurred,” Sullivan told News4Jax.

Meanwhile, civil rights attorney Reganel Reeves -- who is also not associated with the case -- told the outlet there were a number of alternatives than chasing Arbery.

“Like they call the police. They could’ve followed him until police arrived. He was out there running on open road. There was no reason for them to engage him directly on the basis of him going into somebody else’s constructed home,” Reeves said.

According to Sullivan, the verdict would be based on who started the assault. However, that isn't clearly shown in the initial footage of the gruesome shooting.

“But in the video, there is no place where you see McMichael raise the shotgun. There’s no place where you see him point the shotgun at Mr. Arbery. And that’s going to be the key point," he said.

Nonetheless, Sullivan also argued one cannot judge the case based solely on the videos. The facts surrounding the incident would be the deciding factor ultimately.

Considering, it's rare for such types of cases to have supporting video footage at all.

“If the colors were reversed, would you get the same benefit of the doubt, so that’s really what it comes down to,” Reeves said.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, did not face any charges for more than two months after they fatally shot Arbery on February 23. However, the duo was arrested just days after the original video was leaked to the public. While the inquiry was previously in the hands of local officials, the arrests came only after the GBI began investigating.

The McMichaels claimed they thought Arbery was a burglary suspect who had been recorded on a surveillance camera sometime before the February 23 incident.

But Wanda Cooper Jones, Arbery's mother, has said her 25-year-old son, a former high school football player, was just jogging in the neighborhood before he was "hunted like an animal."