The video is clear: Ahmaud Arbery was killed in cold blood. 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. https://t.co/alvY5WjdHx— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 6, 2020
The Democrats’ likely presidential candidate Joe Biden has demanded justice over the killing of an unarmed black man in the US state of Georgia.
Mr Biden said his heart went out to the family of Ahmaud Arbery.
Mr Arbery, 25, was jogging in February when confronted by an ex-policeman and his son. Video purported to show the shooting emerged online on Tuesday.
A district attorney in Georgia has now ruled that a grand jury should decide whether charges should be brought.
An earlier decision by a prosecutor in the Brunswick jurisdiction argued there was no probable cause to arrest Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34.
More than 100 people took part in a protest in Brunswick on Tuesday night, demanding justice for Mr Arbery.
According to a police report of the incident obtained by the Associated Press, Gregory McMichael, one of the men in the truck, told police officers Arbery had attacked his son after they had asked him to stop. McMichael said he thought the man they stopped was suspected of committing a burglary in the neighborhood.
A statement released by S. Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper, said a “false narrative” had been created that the video disproved.
“Mr. Arbery had not committed any crime and there was no reason for these men to believe they had the right to stop him with weapons or to use deadly force in furtherance of their unlawful attempted stop. This is murder,” Merritt said.
“The series of events captured in this video confirm what all the evidence indicated prior to its release— Ahmaud Arbery was pursued by three white men that targeted him solely because of his race and murdered him without justification. This is murder.” pic.twitter.com/v4TAs0RjO7— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 5, 2020
Graphic video of the fatal assault was released yesterday showing the man’s murder.
Gregory McMichael, 64, who is a former police officer and district attorney’s investigator, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, reportedly confronted Arbery because they suspected him of being a burglar in the suburban neighborhood.
The police report said the father and son armed themselves with a .357 magnum and a shotgun, jumped into a pickup truck and went after Arbery to make a citizen’s arrest.
Civil rights groups have also condemned the lack of arrests over the shooting. The ACLU of Georgia said that the unarmed Arbery was killed for being a black man “running through the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time.”
“The vigilante behavior that we saw in Brunswick is unacceptable in a civilized society. We call on the officials in Brunswick to enforce the rule of law so that it can be safe for citizens to walk the streets,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.
“Ahmaud was killed three days before the anniversary of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. Both incidents are a reminder that white supremacy has been a foundation for our country and leads repeatedly to the targeting and harming people of color, particularly African Americans.”
Georgia NAACP State President Rev. James Woodall added: “The fact that the McMichaels have yet to be arrested in this matter is evidence enough for what we all know to be true—justice for all is just not specific enough. We will continue to work with the family and community leaders to remove these two from their office and ensure justice is served.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Durden has requested an investigation into the death. The state of Georgia has prohibited grand or trial juries until June 12 at the earliest.
In a letter to police, George Barnhill , one of the district attorneys who has recused himself from the case and who saw the autopsy report, wrote that Arbery sustained three wounds during the struggle for the gun.Tom Durden, the district attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit, wrote in a news release obtained by CNN on Tuesday that he expects to present the case to the next available grand jury in Glynn County to consider whether charges are merited for those involved in Arbery’s death.Because of the coronavirus pandemic, courts are currently prohibited from empaneling grand juries.Durden did not return CNN’s calls for comment, but the local branch of the NAACP provided CNN with the document — labeled as a press release — which matches a statement Durden gave to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery family, said in a statement that the two men involved in the chase “must be taken into custody pending their indictment.”CNN’s attempts to reach the McMichaels on Tuesday were unsuccessful.Gov. Brian Kemp said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has offered resources to Durden for his investigation. “Georgians deserve answers,” Kemp tweeted.
I want to thank Biden for bringing more attention to this story. Arbery and his family deserve real justice.