A new report claims that one of the two Georgia men arrested for the fatal shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery had a history with the victim, working as an investigator on a case when Arbery was in high school, and reportedly didn’t tell police about it. There’s no evidence as to whether he purposely withheld this information or simply did not remember the connection to the deceased man at the time the shooting was being investigated.
Gregory McMichael has been arrested this week along with his son, Travis McMichael, for the fatal shooting of Arbery in February in the coastal community of Brunswick. Video released this week appeared to show the father and son pair waiting in a pickup truck as Arbery ran by. After a struggle between Arbery and the younger McMichael, shots rang out from the armed men and Arbery fell dead of a gunshot wound.
As CBS News reported, the men were not charged at the time of the shooting as they claimed they were acting in self-defense. A local prosecutor also agreed that they were acting within the legal rights of a citizens arrest in Georgia as they believed the victim may have been involved in recent burglaries. However, the release of the video this week led to a national outcry and calls for authorities to arrest the pair for murder.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced on Thursday that the two had been arrested. Now, a report from The Star reveals a history between the elder McMichael and the victim that the murder suspect did not disclose to police.
Local district attorney Roger Barnhill recused himself from the case, writing a letter to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, saying that Gregory McMichael worked as an investigator for the DA’s office. McMichael helped with a previous prosecution of Arbery, who was arrested in high school and sentenced to five years of probation on charges of carrying a weapon on the campus of his school and obstructing a law officer.
As the report from The Star noted, McMichael did not disclose his history with Arbery, though it was not clear if he recognized the 25-year-old at the time of the shooting.
“McMichael, who retired from the DA’s office in April 2019, made no mention of his work on that investigation to police, though it’s unknown whether he remembered it at the time,” the report noted.
Arbery’s fatal shooting has sparked nationwide protests, with many calling not only for arrests of the two men involved but also for consequences to investigators and prosecutors who initially claimed that the pair had acted in self-defense.