US Justice Department probe sought for slaying of unarmed black man in Georgia

ATLANTA: Georgia's attorney general asked federal prosecutors on Sunday (May 11) to investigate local law enforcement's response to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man who authorities say was slain by a white ex-police officer and his son as the victim jogged through a small town.

The case, in which the suspects were arrested more than two months after the shooting and days after a videotape of the killing was made public, touched off a furore in the southeastern Georgia community of Brunswick and among civil rights activists nationwide.

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Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, were taken into custody on Thursday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and charged with aggravated assault and murder in the Feb 23 killing of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, in Brunswick, about 480km southeast of Atlanta.

Former police officer Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, pose for a booking photo after they were arrested in Brunswick.

State Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement he asked the US Justice Department to open a probe into how the case was handled by two local prosecutors – district attorneys for the Brunswick and Waycross judicial circuits – and the Glynn County Police Department.

According to Carr, both prosecutors ended up recusing themselves from the investigation, one of them, the Waycross district attorney, after providing police with a written opinion that no arrests should be made.

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That opinion, Carr said, was issued a day after the shooting but before the Waycross district attorney had been appointed to the case.

Video of the shooting captured by a witness in a vehicle near the scene shows Arbery jogging down a narrow two-lane road and around the McMichaels' pickup truck, stopped in the right lane with the driver's door open.

As Arbery crosses back in front of the truck, a gunshot is fired. Arbery is then seen struggling with a man holding a rifle as a second man stands in the bed of the truck brandishing a pistol.

Two more shots are heard before Arbery stumbles and falls face down onto the asphalt. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said it was Travis McMichael who fired the fatal round.

READ: 'More than sufficient probable cause' in US killing of Ahmaud Arbery

According to a police report obtained by the New York Times, Gregory McMichael, a former Glynn County police officer and district attorney's investigator, told detectives the incident began when he spotted Arbery from his front yard running down the street.

The elder McMichael told police that because he suspected Arbery in a string of recent neighborhood break-ins, he and his son gave chase in the truck, with Gregory McMichael carrying a .357 Magnum revolver and Travis armed with a shotgunRead More – Source