The man charged in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery leaked the video in the idea that it would clear his name and show that the shooting was justified, a new report claims. Instead, the clip’s release sparked nationwide anger that led to the arrest of the Georgia man and his son, who were seen fatally shooting Arbery.
A report from WSB-TV in Atlanta said it had confirmed that the man who leaked the video was Gregory McMichael, who was seen on the clip with son Travis McMichael waiting in a stopped pickup truck as Arbery ran past them. The footage showed that a struggle ensued and both father and son fired shots, with police saying that the younger McMichael fatally shot Arbery.
“Brunswick attorney Alan Tucker says Greg McMichael wanted to clear up some rumors circulating in the community and he had no idea the video would spark global outrage,” the outlet noted.
Local investigators had initially claimed that both Gregory and Travis McMichael had acted within their right to self-defense while conducting a citizen’s arrest — the men said they believed that Arbery was involved in recent burglaries in the neighborhood. However, the video led to an outcry and calls for the suspects to be arrested. Agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested the pair last week on charges that include felony murder.
There are now calls for the local district attorney’s office to also face investigation as to why the suspects were not arrested at first. A pair of local lawmakers claimed that police had been told not to make arrests, which was disputed by the district attorney.
Alan Tucker, who had initially been identified as the one who leaked the video, said he hoped that its release would ease racial tensions that had been growing since the killing took place in February.
“I didn’t want the neighborhood to become a Ferguson,” Tucker said, referring to the Missouri city that saw widespread unrest after the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in 2014.
Tucker added that Gregory McMichael brought the footage to his office for help in having it downloaded so it could be delivered to a local radio talk show host.
The report that the elder McMichael was behind the release of the clip has led to some controversy, with the New York Post noting the irony that he “thought it would make him and his son look better” to have the video released.