Georgia’s attorney general appointed a black district attorney Monday to take over the case of a white father and son charged with killing a black man, making her the third outside prosecutor in a slaying that’s prompted a national outcry over suspicions that race played a role in delaying arrests.
What We Know:
- Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was fatally shot Feb. 23 by the men, who told police they chased him because they believed he matched the appearance of a burglary suspect caught on surveillance video. Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, were arrested last week, more than two months later, after video of the shooting appeared online and provoked outrage.
- Cobb County District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes is taking over the case from prosecutor Tom Durden. The state’s attorney general said Durden asked to be replaced, saying the “case has grown in size and magnitude” and needed a prosecutor with a large staff. Holmes is based in metro Atlanta, more than 300 miles from the coastal Georgia community of Glynn County where the shooting happened.
- Holmes served four years as a magistrate judge in suburban Cobb County before Gov. Brian Kemp appointed her to fill the vacant district attorney’s position last July. According to the Georgia Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Holmes is one of only seven black district attorneys in the state.
“In order for justice to be carried out both effectively and appropriately in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, it is imperative that the special prosecutor has no affiliation with the Southeast Georgia legal or law enforcement communities.” – Attorney Benjamin Crump
- Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, have been jailed since Thursday on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault. Gregory McMichael is a former Glynn County police officer who later worked 20 years as an investigator for the local district attorney’s office. He retired a year ago.
- Attorneys for Arbery’s parents and others, including state Atty. Gen. Chris Carr and the Southern Poverty Law Center, have asked for a federal investigation to weigh whether hate crime charges should be brought. Georgia has no hate crime law allowing state charges.
- According to Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec’s statement, the department is also considering Carr’s request for federal authorities to investigate how local police and prosecutors handled the case. She said Carr had been asked to “forward to federal authorities any information that he has”.
- Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her son, a former high school football player, was just jogging in the neighborhood before he was killed.
- The leaked video shows a black man running at a jogging pace. The running man attempts to pass the pickup truck on the passenger side, moving briefly outside the camera’s view. A gunshot sounds, and the video shows the running man grappling with a man over what appears to be a shotgun or rifle. A second man can be heard, and the running man can be seen punching the other man. A third shot is fired at point-blank range. The running man staggers a few feet and falls face down.
- William R. Bryan, the man who recorded the cellphone video of the shooting, is identified as a witness in the police report taken after Arbery’s shooting. He has not been charged.
Victor Reynolds, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said on Friday that more arrests in the Arbery case are possible. He added the investigation was ongoing. It includes looking into Bryan.