An explanation for the African-American Ahmaud Arbery killing became shakier on Friday.
The two white men arrested Thursday for the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, claimed they were chasing a suspect behind a series of burglaries in the area. However, no such string of crimes was reported nearly two months preceding the shooting, said a Police Lieutenant.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael face charges of murder and aggravated assault in Arbery’s death, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They were arrested two days after a 36-second video that appears to show the deadly confrontation surfaced online, sparking outrage and calls for justice in the South Georgia community.
After the killing, according to a Glynn County Police report, Gregory McMichael told police he thought Arbery, 25, looked like a person suspected in a series of a recent break-ins in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood.
The last known burglary in the neighbourhood happened on Jan 1st, more than seven weeks before the Feb. 23 incident that ended Arbery’s life at the age of 25, Glynn County Police Lt. Cheri Bashlor told CNN on Friday.
A disturbing video that surfaced online this week shows Arbery, an African-American, on a rural road in Satilla Shores, a small community outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23th. When two men, Gregory McMichael, a former police officer, and his son chased him down, authorities said. Arbery and Travis McMichael struggled over the latter’s shotgun. Gregory McMichael told police his son shot Arbery after Arbery attacked him, per the police report.
“I just want justice for my son,” Ahmaud’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr. “I just want them to pay the price for the crime they did.”
Marcus Arbery Sr. likened his son’s killing to a modern day lynching.
“Anytime you pursue a young man, go jump in a truck with shotguns and a pistol … and you follow him and slaughter him like that, that’s lynching,” he said.
The McMichaels will not face hate crime charges in the killing, GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Friday, because Georgia is one of a handful of states that does not have a hate crime statute.
Asked why the GBI quickly arrested the McMichaels when local authorities did not for ten weeks, GBI Director Vic Reynolds said he couldn’t speak to the actions of other agencies.
He added, “I’m very comfortable in telling you that there’s more than sufficient probable cause in this case for felony murder.”
A wide swath of politicians, activists and celebrities have weighed in on the incident in recent days, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who called the footage “absolutely horrific” and said Georgians “deserve answers.”
Despite the coronavirus, demonstrators on Tuesday converged on the Satilla Shores neighborhood where Arbery was killed, demanding justice.
“You want to chase somebody down? We got over 100 bodies out here. Chase us down,” said a man leading the demonstration. “We’re a community. We’re not going to keep allowing this to go on in Glynn County.”