Georgia’s attorney general has requested United States Department of Justice to initiate an investigation into the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case.
“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a news release. “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.”
The Attorney General request includes an investigation of the “communications and discussions” between the first two district attorneys linked with the case. The fatal shooting of the Arbery, 25 on Feb 23, 2020 has resulted in widespread anger recently after a release of new video that recorded the deadly confrontation between the shooter and victim. The outrage to many is justified as the White shooters in videos were still at large more than two months after the incident.
The suspects, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his 34-year-old son Travis McMichael were arrested on May 7 and are facing charges of murder and aggravated assault.
Since the cold blooded shooting, the case has exchanged the desks of three attorneys. The first two recused themselves on the account of having personal connections with Gregory McMichael. Last week, Tom Druden, the prosecutor presently involved with the case said he would take up the case to a grand jury after COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
The first prosecutor, Jackie Johnson who serves as District Attorney for Brunswick Judicial Circuit separated herself from the case citing McMichael’s position as a former investigator for the office. She has denied the accusations of using her influence over police to not arrest the former investigator.
George Barnhill linked with the Waycross Judicial Circuit also excused himself because his son worked in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney office and had previously worked with Gregory McMichael in Arbery’s prosecution, he formally informed Carr’s office through a letter on April 7.
Barnhill in a separate letter to the police noted that he believed the suspects were within their rights to execute a citizen’s arrest for Arbery. He further added that Travis McMichael would have been allowed to use deadly force to protect himself as he and Arbery were struggling over the shotgun.
Carr’s office on Sunday reported that the time Barnhill was appointed to the case, both his office and the Brunswick DA failed to inform the state attorney general that Barnhill “had already taken a role in the case in reviewing evidence and advising the Glynn County Police Department regarding whether to make arrests in the case.”
Mr. Barnhill excused himself from the case on April 7 when he informed attorney general’s office about a connection between his son and McMichael. However, he failed to justify the delay made in informing the state attorney general. Barnhill also did not provide reasons for why he previously wrote police a letter where he assessed there were no grounds for arresting McMichaels.