Georgia Chase Deadly Shooting Arbery
People pray during a rally to protest the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
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By Russ Bynum, AP

The Justice Department said Monday that federal prosecutors are weighing possible hate crime charges in the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man gunned down after being pursued by two armed white men in a Georgia subdivision.

Arbery was fatally shot Feb. 23 by a father and son who told police they chased him because they believed he was a burglar. They were arrested last week, more than two months later, on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault after video of the shooting appeared online.

Attorneys for Arbery’s parents and others, including Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and the Southern Poverty Law Center, have asked for a federal investigation. Georgia has no hate crime law allowing charges at the state level.

“We are assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes charges are appropriate,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement Monday.

Previously, a Justice Department spokesman had said the FBI is assisting in the investigation and the department would assist if a federal crime is uncovered.

Kupec’s statement Monday also said the Justice Department was considering Carr’s request for federal authorities to investigate how local police and prosecutors handled the case. She said Carr has been asked to “forward to federal authorities any information that he has.”

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael, are jailed on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault in Arbery’s slaying. Gregory McMichael is a former Glynn County police officer who later worked 20 years as an investigator for the local district attorney’s office. He retired a year ago.

The father and son told police they thought Arbery matched the appearance of a burglary suspect who they said had been recorded on a surveillance camera some time before, according to the Glynn County police report filed after the shooting.

Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, has said she thinks her 25-year-old son, a former high school football player, was just jogging in the neighborhood before he was killed.

Meanwhile, a man identifying himself as the person who recorded the cellphone video of the shooting said he’s received death threats.

William “Roddie” Bryan is identified as a witness in the police report taken after Arbery’s shooting. He appears to be mentioned in a single sentence of the report, which says Gregory McMichael told an officer that “’Roddy’ attempted to block (Arbery) which was unsuccessful.”

“I had nothing to do with it. I’m trying to get my life back to normal, and it’s been smeared for the last week,” Bryan told WJAX-TV in an interview that aired Monday. “I was told I was a witness and I’m not sure what I am, other than receiving a bunch of threats.”

Bryan has not been charged in the case. The TV station reported Bryan would not discuss his involvement in the events that led to Arbery’s death.

Outside prosecutors were appointed to handle the case. But the McMichaels weren’t arrested until last week. After video of the shooting leaked online Tuesday, the lead prosecutor on the case asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into the shooting. The McMichaels were arrested Thursday.

It was not known Monday whether the McMichaels had attorneys to represent them. They had no lawyers at their first court appearance Friday.

The leaked video shows a black man running at a jogging pace. The truck is stopped in the road ahead of him, with one of the white men standing in the pickup’s bed and the other beside the open driver’s side door.

The running man attempts to pass the pickup on the passenger side, moving just beyond the truck, briefly outside the camera’s view. A gunshot sounds, and the video shows the running man grappling with a man over what appears to be a shotgun or rifle. A second shot can be heard, and the running man can be seen punching the other man. A third shot is fired at point-blank range. The running man staggers a few feet and falls face down.

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289 COMMENTS

  1. Well, now we know it’s bullshit. The entire “hate crime” concept is unconstitutional as hell. Equal protection? What equal protection?

    Also, can we quit simping for the AP and try citing a CREDIBLE news source?

    • PWRSERGE,

      “…can we quit simping for the AP and try citing a CREDIBLE news source?”

      Agree…however, I think the point is to report on what the mainstream (lamestream) media is reporting.

      • The GBI are the only credible source at this point. They said there is more than enough to charge for murder, they can’t charge a hate crime because Georgia does not have such laws. The local law enforcement is corrupt and tried to cover up a murder after the fact.

        People should seek out the info on their own instead of relying on corporations and Youtubers to spoon feed you. You know they tell you what you want to hear so they can make money. You know they cause drama for clicks and cash. You know they love to race bait while saying they are not race baiting.

        Grifters got to grift. That’s all they know how to do. They have no other means of making money.

        • A charge means jack shit. I can charge a ham sandwich. Get back to me when you have at least a grand jury indictment.

        • With that cellphone video, I don’t think a GJ will have any problem handing out an indictment…

        • Only if the prosecutor fails to do his job and offer the full facts of the case and instruct the Grand Jury as to Georgia’s self defense, citizen’s arrest, and open carry statutes.

          Honestly, I wasn’t sure until I looked into it, but I’d no-bill it. As would, I think, any reasonable person. When the issue comes down to the credibility of a career LEO with a spotless record over the credibility of a convicted felon, there’s no contest.

        • Yeah, but you don’t get to educate the jury on the dead guy’s rap sheet. They remain blissfully unaware of his past ‘adventures’ for the duration of the trial…

        • Until the defense brings it up as it goes to the defendant’s state of mind and the reasonableness of his suspicion. Given that he had personal knowledge of said rap sheet. 1st rule of presenting evidence, never let the other side present things that are damaging to your case in chief, always cut them off at the pass.

        • There is no defense side of things in a Grand Jury proceeding.

          The State presents what it can/wants and it’s up to the GJ to decide if there’s enough evidence to warrant an actual trial.

        • Again, not something you want to do when you have to then go to trial. Getting bushwhacked by the defense using evidence you already have is VERY bad. If I was a prosecutor, I’d give the full story to the GJ and let them decide. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the guy who took this to trial and lost when I had the out of a GJ no-bill.

        • Ethically speaking what I’m about to say is very wrong, but it’s also not uncommon. It’s sometimes referred to in legal philosophy literature as “hyper zeal”.

          While “getting bushwhacked” by your own evidence can happen a prosecutor often looks at the overall chances of winning the case, including who the defense counsel is. If it’s a small shop, public defender or the defendant isn’t wealthy then burying defense counsel in documentation is a strategy that’s sometimes used to overwhelm the defense. Sure, there’s exculpatory evidence in the pile but without time and a bunch of people to go through the pile the chances of finding what you need are slim.

          Even with the time and people, does the defendant have the resources to pay those people to find the relevant information? Just as Mike Flynn about this tactic. It bankrupted him.

          Of course, there’s always the option to “lose” exculpatory evidence too.

        • Hard to do when all your exculpatory evidence is already in the public domain and you’re the third DA on the case.

        • Not if you’ve calculated that they can’t actually afford to go to trial.

          That’s how you grind a plea out of a BS case.

    • Are you like on the county’s payroll man? You seem to only comment on this story and it seems like an obsession of yours. I get people get emotional about shit like this but damn.

      • No… I just REALLY hate racist bigots who ignore the facts and the law to push bad “civil rights” cases when there are much more important cases that would love the publicity and that EVERYONE would agree on.

        Barnes mentions some of them in passing.

        • I do love me some Viva Frei! Great mind for legal explanations of complicated issues and a good does of humor to boot.

          I check him out every day now for intelligent, “Fact based” perspective on issues of the day.

    • A credible news source? Like what do you consider credible? I’m not real impressed with em. ARE there any credible news sources left?

    • serge has this entirely correct, down to the idea that, since it’s the AP, who the hell knows if it’s true or not.

    • Hate crime legislation exists to recognize centuries of unfair application of the law and targeted brutality/violence/murder against a protected class of citizens.

      The fact that you don’t understand that means you are either willfully ignoring centuries of institutional racism and violence, or that you just don’t care.

      • ” Making up for centuries of injustice”. You do not do this by using double jepordy on offenses in this date and age. What was done in the past is not o k now. If this man was shot while he was just jogging down the road as it appears, then these two are guilty of murder and should get the death penalty. The law should apply regardless of race .

  2. Yup, no such things as a “hate crime”, unless there is a “love crime”.

    No yin without yang. No up without down. No Coke without Pepsi (j/k).

    The crime is the crime.

    • “Hate crime” is code for “we can’t prove an actual crime, so we’ll make up some bullshit and spin a bunch of racist BS to the jury”.

      • Sounds about right. The whole concept is so totally unAmerican. The entire goal is to punish people for what they think, rather than what they do. How the hell did we get to that state?

    • Oh there’s a love crime alright… it’s just not called that… and it’s not the kind of love you want…

  3. The guns are coming out. They believe the government is corrupt. They want a federal investigation into the three DAs and law enforcement.

    • Blacktivists show up at a suspect’s house (even though they know that the suspects were remanded without bail) with guns looking to lynch somebody, but it’s the “racist rednecks” who are the problem. I also find it interesting that another such activist was just arrested and charged with terrorism for making up “racists” who don’t exist.

      • Well, you are a racist. So they do exist.

        They went to the McMichaels’ house because they wanted to send a message. They were not there to lynch them because they knew they were in a cage. It’s a show of force to the local PD, whom were too scared to answer calls from neighbors about black men lawfully open carrying their loaded long guns. The police refused to save the Karens from the big black guns and big black men. The militia went there for the cops, they didn’t go their for the men involved with the murder.

        • The men may be in jail but their wives and families are still there. I’m torn on this one. I don’t believe these “black militia” broke any laws, with my limited knowledge of Georgia law. But it seems pretty intimidating to the family that remains at the home who had nothing to do with the shooting. If they showed up at the courthouse to protest I would support their rights 100%, but at someones home? This is some pretty borderline shit.

        • They went there to commit an act of terrorism. Oh, and FYI, the idea of you calling ME “racist” is laughable to anybody who actually knows me. You want to protest? Take it to a public space like outside a legislature or court house. Doing it on a private street in front of a bunch of people who didn’t do anything wrong is basically the exact same thing that the KKK did back when they were a thing that existed.

        • Chief,

          Armed protest, however legal, outside of someone’s home, is clearly intended to intimidate. But, instead of intimidating legislators, mayors, government executives, or corporate leadership, this is directed at families in a residential neighborhood. Did these protesters have a right to do so? Of course. Did they do so peacefully? It seems so. Have not heard differently.

          On the other hand, the shooting happened in a residential neighborhood. That is intimidating, also.

          Regarding the ‘hate crime’ aspect: I’ve always felt those laws are meant to be vindictive and have the effect of criminalizing thought and emotion.

        • The dude that recorded the confrontation has received death threats. Imagine getting death threats, then looking out of your window to see people marching in the street with rifles.

        • @Dude

          I have nothing to worry about because I did not lynch a man. And we got guns around here. I didn’t start nothin’, so it won’t be nothin’.

          If I was them I would be more worried about people coming around at night with a liqueur bottle, a torn shirt and a lighter. But those militiamen were doing things lawfully, out in the open and during the day. They knew the cops were down the way watching.

          I was around for some race riots. I have been around when people were murdered for being a certain color. I mind my business and try to be friends with everyone. I have not created enemies.

          I am not scared. Why are you?

        • Why would I be worried about anything? I haven’t studied this case, so maybe I missed something, but why would the guy that was doing the recording be getting death threats? Did he harm or threaten that kid?

        • Yes boomer, the National Guard at Kent State did nothing wrong. They fired on communist insurgents who attacked them. Some people got caught in the crossfire. What WAS wrong about Kent State is that the rest of the insurgents who survived weren’t rounded up and shot.

        • Yeah… that’s adorable. Showing up outside my house armed “wanting to talk” is a great way to get a 50 BMG center mass from my upstairs window.

        • Says the splatter of red mist when the real guns begin singing .

          You really think the Feds won’t want to join the fun?

        • You think the feds would support an armed mob storming a random residential neighborhood?

          FYI, I’ve taken mortar fire before, a few BlackKK members with pop guns don’t intimidate me when I’m fighting form a defensible position.

        • “Yeah, Billy! Let’s go outside to have a little chitchat and offer those brothers some tea. Leave the guns in the safe. We don’t want to be rude to our guests.”

      • I’m convinced you’re a troll account. There’s no way someone is this purposefully obtuse. Your argumentation is indistinguishable from satire.

        • Yeah, because I’m sure that if a bunch of armed KKK members showed up outside the family home of a black man who had been arrested for shooting a white man, we would all give them the same benefit of the doubt? Right? What’s good for the goose.

        • How would you react if a bunch of black dudes stopped a truck in front of your path, came out carrying shotguns, and just wanted to “talk to you?”

        • Depends? Did I just run away from a construction site I’ve been breaking into for weeks?

          I wouldn’t be in that situation, because I wouldn’t put myself in that situation.

        • Pwrserge, I really am trying to convince myself that you are not that stupid. The owner of the property said nothing was defaced, nothing stolen. Do you think constantly posting your version of the facts changes that?