Developing Story: Ahmaud Arbery Case

This is a quickly evolving story – Here are some of the basics:

What Happened:

  • February 23: Fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. No charges were initially filed in the case.
  • May 5: A video posted on social showed the February 23 fatal shooting.
  • May 7: Gregory McMichael, and his son Travis McMichael, were arrested. They were both charged with murder and aggravated assault.
    • According to the police report, Gregory told police there were several recent break-ins in the neighborhood and that Arbery was previously caught on surveillance video. He told police that when he and his son saw Arbery running down the street, they jumped in their truck in an attempt to intercept him; Gregory, a former police officer and investigator, said he and his son grabbed their guns because they “didn’t know if the male was armed or not.”  As they drove after Arbery, they shouted “stop, stop, we  want to talk to you.” Gregory said that when they caught up Arbery, his son got out of the truck with his shotgun, and that Arbery began to “violently attack” him. He said Arbery and his son fought over the shotgun and that his son fired a shot, and a second later another shot fired. The video of the incident reveals a third shot was fired.
    • Arbery, who was unarmed, died at the scene. His family says he regularly jogged in the neighborhood where the shooting incident took place.
    • According to the autopsy report, Arbery was hit by three bullets: two in the chest and a third grazed his right wrist.
  • May 11: The U.S. Justice Department said it’s “assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crime charges are appropriate.”
  • Around May 11: Another video was released which shows a man that appears to be Arbery before the incident entering a home under construction in the neighborhood.
    • The man in the video walks into the home, stays inside for several minutes, and then runs out, and down the street. Another man can be seen in the video, across the street from the home; he reportedly enters the frame, mcalling police. This is one of several videos, including a video from inside the home under construction, that has now been released.
  • May 21: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who shot the May 5 video of Arbery’s shooting, on charges of felony murder & criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment in connection with the incident that resulted in the death of Arbery.
    • Bryan’s lawyers say he was only a witness to the shooting, but prosecutors say he contributed to Arbery’s death when he attempted to falsely imprison Arbery, specifically by trying to detain Arbery with his vehicle and trying to intercept Arbery while he was being chased by the McMichaels.
  • June 4: At a hearing involving all three defendants, the judge ruled the cases against them are strong enough to proceed. During the hearing, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent testified that Bryan said Travis McMichael said “f****** n*****” after shooting Arbery and that there was additional evidence that McMichael used the n-word on social media and text messages. The same agent testified “I don’t believe it was self-defense by Mr. McMichael, I believe it was self-defense by Mr. Arbery.”
  • June 24: A grand jury returned an indictment against Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan, charging them each with the following nine counts: malice murder, felony murder (four counts), aggravated assault (two counts), false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

How The Case Is Now Being Handled:

“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset.”
– Georgia’s attorney general requesting a federal investigation into the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case.

In response, the DOJ said it will review the handling of the case. Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr has also appointed a district attorney from the Atlanta area, far outside the immediate area where the crime took place, to lead the prosecution.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating Ahmaud Arbery’s death  in partnership with District Attorney Tom Durden.

What You Should Know About Georgia Law:

  • Non-law enforcement may make a “citizens arrest” if they witness a crime and use reasonable force to do so.
  •  A person claiming self-defense is only justified in using deadly force if they reasonably believe such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself/herself or a third person, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.


READ MORE: Ahmaud Arbery Murder Investigation