A state investigator alleged Thursday that a white man was heard saying a racial slur as he stood over Ahmaud Arbery‘s body, moments after fatally shooting the black man with a pump-action shotgun.
What We Know:
- According to ABC 7, in a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a murder trial, the lead Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent in the case testified that Travis and Greg McMichael and a third man in another pickup, William “Roddie” Bryan, used their trucks to chase down and box in Arbery, who repeatedly reversed directions and ran into a ditch while trying to escape.
- Travis McMichael then got out of his truck and confronted Arbery, later telling police he shot him in self-defense after Arbery refused his order to get on the ground, Special Agent Richard Dial said. A close examination of the video of the shooting shows the first shot was to Arbery’s chest, the second was to his hand, and the third was to his chest again before he collapsed in the road, Dial said.
- “Mr. Bryan said that after the shooting took place before police arrival, while Mr. Arbery was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael make the statement, ‘f – – – ing n – – – er,'” Dial said.
- Bryan gave investigators the information a week after the McMichaels’ arrest, but there’s no indication he said it to Glynn County investigators before that, Dial added.
- Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery’s family, told reporters outside the courthouse that prosecutors had warned the family before the hearing of the coming testimony about the slur.
- “It was still very difficult to hear in the context of a prolonged chase, that after he murdered Ahmaud Arbery and stood over his body, he used that racial epithet,” Merritt said.
- Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones called the release of new details in court “very, very heartbreaking”.
- “He was afraid,” Cooper-Jones said of her slain son. “Life had placed him in a position where I couldn’t protect him, and he wasn’t able to protect himself.”
At the conclusion of the probable cause hearing Thursday, Magistrate Court Judge Wallace Harrell found that there is enough evidence for the cases against all three defendants to proceed.