BRUNSWICK, GA—On Monday, May 25, the attorney representing Ahmaud Arbery’s family, Lee Martin, announced that the FBI is investigating his death as a potential hate crime. The news was confirmed by the United States Department of Justice representative, Kerri Kupec. Investigators will look into the Glynn County Police Department, as well as District Attorneys George Barnhill and Jackie Johnson to determine whether or not the two committed criminal and civil violations.
Arbery, 25, an unarmed African-American was killed in Brunswick, Georgia, while jogging on February 23, after suspects Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael attempted a citizen’s arrest. Travis fired a shot in alleged self-defense that killed Arbery, as the two struggled with a firearm. The incident occurred on Fancy Bluff Road, not far from home of Arbery’s mother. Gregory and Travis, who are father and son, accused the victim of being responsible for “several break-ins” in the neighborhood. Gregory is a former police office and investigator with the Glynn County District Attorney’s Office.
Arbery was a former high-school linebacker and intended to be a student at South Georgia Technical College. He was studying to become an electrician. He took a semester off and would attend the school in the fall. He has a juvenile and felony record.
No arrests were made for 72 days. When the video of the shooting drew national publicity, both Gregory and Travis were arrested on May 8. The recorder of the video, William Bryan Jr., was also arrested and charged with felony murder.
“All citizens are entitled to the same protection under the law… This case makes it clear that all black citizens in south Georgia aren’t getting the same protection because if you shoot anybody in the street in broad daylight, just in general you expect at least an arrest. There were no arrests made,” said attorney Lee Merritt who is representing the Arbery family.
If Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan Jr. are convicted, they may face life in prison, without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. A grand jury will investigate the killing once restrictions on the courts in Georgia are lifted on June 13.
The petition ‘We are NOT Satisfied’ demands District Attorneys Barnhill and Johnson, who did not initially pursue criminal charges in the death of Arbery be removed from their positions.