Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced on Sunday that he has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was fatally shot by two white men while jogging.
“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,” Carr said in a statement. “The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers.”
Also on Sunday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that it has arrested 20-year-old Rashawn Smith and charged him with “Dissemination of Information Relating to Terrorist Acts for a Facebook post that contained a threat to future protests related to Ahmaud Arbery.” The GBI said it was conducting the investigation with the FBI and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
Arbery was fatally shot while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested and charged Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, with murder and aggravated assault on Thursday after video footage of the deadly attack went viral and sparked international outrage.
The graphic video shows the McMichaels chasing Arbery, who was unarmed, in a pickup truck before the shots were fired. The two men have maintained that they believed Arbery was a suspect in a recent string of robberies, but Glynn County Police Lt. Cheri Bashlor told CNN that there was only one burglary in the area nearly two months before the shooting, on Jan. 1.
Gregory was previously a law enforcement officer who worked for Brunswick DA Jackie Johnson. County Commissioner Allen Booker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that “the police at the scene went to [Johnson], saying they were ready to arrest both of them,” but Johnson “shut them down to protect her friend McMichael.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday called Arbery’s killing a “lynching of an African American man” and asserted that the arrests of the father and son would not have happened if the video of the shooting did not surface. “I think had we not seen that video, I don’t believe that they would be charged,” she said.