Georgia’s attorney general has officially called for an investigation into the handling of the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man.
Attorney General Chris Carr said his office is “committed to a complete and transparent review” of how the case was handled from the beginning, and that they are requesting the U.S. Department of Justice investigate.
“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,” he said in a news release on Sunday.
Arbery’s Feb. 23 shooting death ignited outrage after a video of the incident was circulated widely last week.
Soon after the video surfaced, two men were arrested and charged with murder — more than two months after Arbery’s death.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, are also facing charges of aggravated assault in relation to the armed pursuit and shooting of the young man, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced in a statement last week.
There were no arrests made till May 7. Neither man was arrested or charged after the shooting, to which they have both admitted.
The father and son — both white — had told police they thought Arbery was a suspected burglar who had targeted homes in their neighbourhood located on the outskirts of Brunswick, Ga. But the young man’s mother has said Arbery was out for a daily jog.
The state attorney general’s call for a federal probe came the same day a 20-year-old man was arrested and charged in relation to a threat made online against protests about Arbery.
Rashawn Smith was charged with dissemination of information relating to terroristic acts, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“On Sunday, May 10, 2020, at approximately 11:55 p.m., the GBI was made aware of a Facebook post that contained a threat to future protests related to Ahmaud Arbery,” their statement said.
A day earlier, the GBI office said it was reviewing additional footage and photos related to the Arbery 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 office said in a statement Saturday.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published surveillance footage from a home close to where the young man was shot, which shows someone who appears to be Arbery walking into a house that’s under construction.
Arbery then came back out and ran down the street. Someone else comes out across the street from the construction site, and then a vehicle drives off farther down the street, near where McMichael lives.
Lawyers representing the slain man’s family said the video shows Arbery did not commit a felony and backs up their argument that he did not do anything wrong.
Georgia law says a person who isn’t a sworn police officer can arrest and detain another person only if a felony is committed in the presence of the arresting citizen.
According to Arbery’s family’s lawyers, Arbery’s actions at the vacant house under construction “were in no way a felony under Georgia law.”
“This video confirms that Mr. Arbery’s murder was not justified and the actions of the men who pursued him and ambushed him were unjustified,” the lawyers wrote in a social media post
— With files by Global News reporter Sean Boynton, The Associated Press