ATLANTA >> Georgia’s attorney general today requested a federal investigation into the handling of the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who authorities say died at the hands of two white men as he ran through a neighborhood.
In a news release, Attorney General Christopher Carr said he had formally asked the U.S. Department of Justice, led by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine, to conduct the investigation into how Arbery’s death was handled.
“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “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.”
National outrage over the case swelled last week after video surfaced that appeared to show the shooting.
Several hundred people protested the case Friday in Brunswick, near the site where Arbery was fatally shot on Feb. 23. National outrage over the case swelled last week after video surfaced that appeared to show the shooting. The social justice arm of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment company today called on Georgia officials to take quick action in the case.
Shortly after the video’s leak, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The arrests came hours after officials asked the GBI to start investigating. The inquiry was previously in the hands of local officials.
The father and son said they thought Arbery matched the appearance of a burglary suspect who they said had been recorded on a surveillance camera some time before.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her 25-year-old son, a former high school football player, was just jogging in the neighborhood before he was killed.
On Saturday, the GBI confirmed that it has obtained other photos of video that might shed light on the case. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published footage from a surveillance camera at a Brunswick home near where Arbery was shot that shows someone who appears to be Arbery walking into a home 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 Travis McMichael lives.
Lawyers for Arbery’s family say the video bolsters their position that Arbery did nothing wrong, and shows he did not commit a felony. Under Georgia law, someone 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.
“Ahmaud’s actions at this empty home under construction were in no way a felony under Georgia law,” the lawyers wrote in a social media post. “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.”