On Thursday night, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that two men were arrested for the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, which took place in February in Brunswick, Georgia, Buzzfeed News reported. Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested on Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault. Law enforcement reported the two men are in police custody and will be booked at the Glynn County Jail.
The McMichaels were not charged at the time of the shooting because they claimed self-defense, according to CBS News. Gregory told the officers who originally investigated the shooting that Arbery had attacked Travis.
According to Buzzfeed News, Gregory told investigators he thought Arbery was responsible for a series of recent burglaries in the neighborhood and said he and his son were performing a citizen’s arrest. Both McMichaels said the shooting occurred during a struggle for the gun Travis was carrying. The local police believed the McMichaels were acting within their rights to perform a citizen’s arrest, as well as their assertion that the shooting was the result of a struggle.
However, earlier this week, a cellphone video of the shooting was released that showed a very different sequence of events. In the footage, Arbery jogged down a residential road in the middle of the day. He was then approached by two white men with guns — the McMichaels. He didn’t appear to do anything to provoke the men, but a struggle ensued and the shooting occurred.
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 6, 2020
This new information called into question the McMichaels’ account of the incident and sparked public outrage, Buzzfeed News reported. Per CBS News, Wanda Jones — Arbery’s mother — spoke out and claimed the video was proof her son had done nothing wrong and had been murdered for running for no other reason than being black.
“He was out for his daily jog and he was hunted down like an animal and killed. I’m hoping that all involved, they’re indicted and they go to jail.”
The footage went viral and led to many loud cries for justice — including from public officials — and prompted a new inquiry into the case, as Buzzfeed News wrote. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took control of the investigation, which led to the McMichaels’ arrest on Thursday evening.
After the arrest was announced, Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr said it “is the first step in what I am confident will be a swift road to justice.”