What Happened to Ahmaud Arbery?
Ahmaud Arbery seconds before succumbing to his wounds (source: Witness video)
A very shaky video, two shooters, a jogger, a fight, shots, and a death. What happened to Ahmaud Arbury?
Video footage captured by an unidentified witness in a vehicle being driven behind Arbery shows him as he jogs along a two-lane road on Feb. 23. Ahead, a white pickup truck is parked, with one man standing in the truck bed and another standing by the driver’s side.
Arbery is seen running toward the truck’s right side and he then veers in and out of the camera’s frame. A gunshot rings out. Arbery is then seen entering into a struggle with one man, who appears to hold a long gun. Another shot then rings out; Arbery was shot at least twice before he fell to the pavement.
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING:
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, were identified as the two men who pursued Arbery, though they are not immediately identifiable in the video footage. The report includes a series of quotes from Gregory McMichael, who is identified as a witness.
Gregory McMichael said he saw Arbery run by his front yard and alerted his son, according to the police report — he says they thought he resembled a suspect behind recent break-ins in the neighborhood. Both men then grabbed weapons and attempted to follow Arbery in their pickup truck. After a chase, the men pulled up beside Arbery and shouted at him to stop, McMichael claimed, and Travis McMichael got out of the vehicle with a shotgun. Gregory McMichael alleged that Arbery then attacked Travis and that the men began fighting over the weapon before any shots were fired.
In a letter dated to Feb 23rd 2020 addressed to Captain Tom Jump from District Attorney George E . Barnhill it appears that the investigation revealed several more details.
"It appears Travis McMichael,Greg McMichael, and Bryan William were following, in pursuit burglary suspect, with solid firsthand probable cause, in their neighborhood, and asking/ telling him to stop. It appears their intent was to stop and hold this criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived. Under Georgia Law this is perfectly legal"
the letter goes on to say the following,
"The video made by William Bryan clearly shows the shooting in realtime. From said video it appears Ahmaud Arbery was running along the right side of the McMichael truck then abruptly turns 90 degrees to the left and attacks Travis McMichaelwho was standing at the front left corner of the truck . A brief skirmish ensues in which it appear Arbery strikes McMichael and appears to grab the shotgun and pull it from McMichael The shot is through Arbery s right hand palm which is consistent with him grabbing and pulling the shotgun at the barrel tip , the 2nd and 3rd wounds are consistent with the struggle for the shotgun as depicted in the video, the angle of the 2nd shot with the rear of the buttstock being pushed away and down from the fight are also consistent with the upward angle of blood plume shown in the video and that McMichael was attempting to push the gun away from Arbery while Arbery was pulling it toward himself. The 3rd shot too appears to be in a struggle over the gun. The angle of the shots and the video show this was from the beginning or almost immediately became-- a fight over the shotgun. Given the fact Arbery initiated the fight, at the point Arbery grabbed the shotgun, under Georgia Law , McMichael was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself. Just as importantly, while we know McMichael had his finger on the trigger, we do not know who caused the firings. Arbery would only have to pull the shotgun approximately 1/ 16th to 1/ 8th of one inch to fire weapon himself and in the height of an altercation this is entirely possible. Arbery's mental health records & prior convictions help explain his apparent aggressive nature and his possible thought pattern to attack an armed man...For the above and foregoing reasons, it is our conclusion there is insufficient probable cause to issue arrest warrants at this time."
This seems to suggest that instead of an incident decried as white supremacist hate (though still entirely possible), it was a failed attempt by civilians to hold a suspected criminal.
It is important to be confident in the facts in situations like these that on every glance provoke immediate emotional reaction. If this is an act of pure racial hatred then these men need to be held accountable and be made examples of to the furthest extent of American law.
Arbery’s family members say he was most likely out for a jog and that he was not responsible for any break-ins:
“Arbery had not committed any crime and there was no reason for these men to believe they had the right to stop him with weapons or to use deadly force in furtherance of their unlawful attempted stop,”
The police officer who filed the report said the crime scene was later turned over to the Glynn County Criminal Investigative Division. It is not immediately clear if the person who filmed the video provided a statement.
Tom Durden, District Attorney of Georgia’s Atlantic Judicial Court said that "The Glynn County Police Department has the authority and legal imperative to make an arrest today, pending the presentation of this case to a grand jury,” he said in a statement. “These men must be taken into custody pending their indictment.”
Durden has said a Glynn County grand jury should make the decision on whether criminal charges should be brought in the case. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, grand juries are prohibited from meeting through June 12.
“I have no control over the suspensions due to the pandemic; however, I do intend to present the case to the next available grand jury in Glynn County,” Durden said in a statement. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations, which helps in criminal investigations, said Tuesday night that Durden had requested it to look into Arbery’s death.
James Woodall, president of the Georgia N.A.A.C.P., criticized the prosecutors who had to recuse themselves from the case over their “mismanagement” of the incident and called for them both to be removed.
“While we acknowledge District Attorney Tom Durden’s intentions to convene a grand jury to bring charges against the men who gunned down Ahmaud Arbery, we recognize that we have a long way to go until we reach justice,” Woodall said in a statement. “The modern-day lynching of Mr. Arbery is yet another reminder of the vile and wicked racism that persists in parts of our country.”
There has been support for the Arbery family from both Right and Left sides.
The Black Conservative Federation in a press release said,
"Washington DC- The Black Conservative Federation is extending its complete condolences to the family of Ahmaud Arbery. After extensively reviewing news coverage and examining the horrific video showing the unjust shooting of Arbery by Gergory and Travis McMichael in Brunswick, GA in February, we call for the prosecution to the highest level of the law for the men responsible for this heinous act."
“The vigilante behavior that we saw in Brunswick is unacceptable in a civilized society,” Young said in a statement. “Ahmaud was killed three days before the anniversary of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. Both incidents are a reminder that white supremacy has been a foundation for our country and leads repeatedly to the targeting and harming people of color, particularly African Americans.”
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested as of Thursday evening and will be booked into the Glynn County Jail. Once again, everyone must do their own research and draw not only from their emotion but the facts and viewable evidence around the case and alleged murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
We at the Daily Wave want to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery. No one deserves to die this way, and it is our hope that justice will be carried out to whichever party is found guilty.