Law & the Courts

District Attorney Stopped Officers from Making Arrests after Ahmaud Arbery Shooting, County Commissioner Claims

A white and orange cross with an “A” on it stands at the entrance of the Satilla Shores neighbourhood where Ahmaud Arbery was shot after being chased by a former law enforcement officer and his son, at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Ga., May 8, 2020. (Dustin Chambers/Reuters)

Glynn County district attorney Jackie Johnson prevented officers from making arrests after the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in February, two county commissioners told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.

“The police at the scene went to her, saying they were ready to arrest both of them. These were the police at the scene who had done the investigation,” said Commissioner Allen Booker. “She shut them down to protect her friend [Gregory] McMichael.”

Commissioner Peter Murphy concurred, saying that when police turned to Johnson’s office to inform them of intent to arrest McMichael, police “were told not to make the arrest.”

McMichael, 64, a retired investigator who worked in Johnson’s office, was arrested on Thursday along with his son Travis McMichael, 34, and charged with murder in the February 23 shooting of Arbery. Video of the incident in which the McMichaels, who are white, shoot and kill Arbery, who is black, sparked national outrage.

Gregory McMichael told investigators that he believed Arbery resembled a burglary suspect who had recently been in the neighborhood. McMichael and his son drove after Arbery in their pickup truck calling on him to stop, and eventually shot him with a .357 Magnum and shotgun. Arbery was unarmed, according to attorneys for his family.

Johnson recused herself from the case shortly following the shooting, and did not respond to the Journal-Constitution‘s request for comment.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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