The father-and-son duo caught on camera fatally shooting unarmed 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery – who was out for a jog on a sunny day when he was suddenly confronted by the two men – have been arrested and charged in the controversial case, which has inspired demands for justice from across the US at a time when courts are closed and prisons are releasing non-violent inmates.
On Tuesday, video surfaced of the incident showing Arbery tussling with the younger McMichael before being brutally shot at point blank range with a shotgun, despite being unarmed and apparently out for a jog.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were charged with murder and aggravated assault. They were in police custody as of Thursday night and will be booked at Glynn County Jail.
Watch the video of the shooting below (though be warned it contains extremely graphic footage of an actual murder):
While jogging through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia on Feb 23, Arbery was confronted by Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, who purportedly accused him of committing a recent burglary and ordered him to stop.
That confrontation turned into a struggle, and Travis eventually shot Arbery twice with a shotgun, killing the 25-year-old. According to the only witness in the police report, McMichael told investigators he thought Arbery was a burglary suspect, confronted him and ordered him to stop. Then, McMichael said, Arbery “violently” attacked his son, and the two fought “over the shotgun” before Travis shot him twice. At the time, no charges were filed.
The two men said they grabbed guns and took off in pursuit of Arbery after seeing him jog by. They claimed they believed he was a suspect in a recent neighborhood burglary, and they tried to make a “citizen’s arrest” and ordered him to stay put until law enforcement arrives. Unfortunately, these two men didn’t actually have the authority to hold Arbery, making his decision to resist a natural response to two aggressors seemingly coming out of nowhere.
Arbery’s mother told CBS News that the video “proves that my son was not committing a crime. He was out for his daily jog and he was hunted down like an animal and killed,” Jones said.
Initially, a prosecutor who may have worked with the elder McMichael when he was an officer of the court (Gregory McMichael retired a year ago as an investigator in the DA’s office) said that the two men had acted within the bounds of Georgia’s ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ law, and that the younger – Travis – had acted in self-defense when shooting Arbery. Then, after another prosecutor took over, the state was going to allow a Grand Jury to decide on the matter of prosecution, before a national outcry – taken up by celebrities including Steph Curry – pressured the state into arresting the two men.