Joe Biden is speaking up about the controversial killing of a Georgia jogger in a case that has sparked outrage across the country after video of the fatal shooting was released this week.
The former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee spoke out on the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed on February 23 after an encounter with two white men who allegedly thought he was a burglar. The recently released video showed Arbery running down a street in the coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia, when he encountered 64-year-old Gregory McMichael, and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael, who had stopped on the road in a pickup truck. There was a struggle that ended with Arbery being fatally shot.
Prosecutors initially said the two white men acted within the scope of a citizen’s arrest in the state of Georgia and that Arbery was the aggressor in the struggle that led to his death. The killing sparked controversy and allegations of racial inequality, which grew even more when video of the killing was released.
Biden took to Twitter to call for justice for the 25-year-old Georgia man.
“The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood,” Biden wrote. “My heart goes out to his family, who deserve justice and deserve it now. It is time for a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his murder.”
Biden’s statement matched one from Lee Merrit, a lawyer working for the Arbery family.
“This is murder,” Merritt said, via the BBC. “The series of events captured in this video confirm what all the evidence indicated prior to its release.”
Biden’s plea may have served its purpose. After prosecutors had initially declined to charge the men, saying there was no probable cause, a Georgia district attorney overseeing the case has now ruled that a grand jury should hear the evidence and decide whether the two should be charged, the BBC reported.
A 911 call released showed that the pair believed Arbery may have committed a burglary in the neighborhood, but family members said he was an avid jogger who took a daily run in the area. Reports indicated that the two chased Arbery down after seeing him in the neighborhood.
The killing was even more controversial, given that the elder McMichael is a retired investigator with the district attorney’s office. As The Grio reported, this led to District Attorney George E. Barnhill recusing himself and having the case transferred to a nearby county.