Three Georgia men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery set to have preliminary, bond hearings
Ex-cop Gregory McMichael, 64, his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, have all been charged with felony murder in Arbery’s death.
The McMichaels have also been slapped with aggravated assault charge while Bryan, who shot the cellphone video that was leaked on social media and triggered a national outcry, has also been charged with criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
According to police reports, the McMichaels went after Arbery, trapping and shooting him four times while Bryan filmed it.
The leaked cellphone video fueled the national outcry and demands for justice for Arbery.
At Thursday’s hearing, Glynn County Chief Magistrate Judge Wallace Harrell will determine whether there’s sufficient evidence for the cases to go forward.
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Lee Cooper, and family attorney Lee Merritt will also be at the hearing, Fox News has learned.
Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man studying to be an electrician, was shot and killed in late February near the coastal city of Brunswick while jogging. Charges, however, were not filed against any of the men accused in his shooting death until May, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate Arbery’s death. It was then learned that local law enforcement and district attorneys allegedly slow-walked the case to allegedly protect one of their own.
The fact that local law enforcement largely looked the other way after Arbery’s death triggered national outrage and demands for accountability.
Since then, a harsh light has been cast on the Glynn County Police Department. A deeper dive into the beleaguered police department by Fox News uncovered scandals and claims of corruption for years, including allegations that detectives tampered with evidence, lied to prosecutors and retaliated against whistleblowers.
When the GBI finally arrived in Brunswick, it took them less than 48 hours to arrest the McMichaels.The quick arrest prompted even more anger and accusations of cronyism at the local police department. There was also a backlash for three district attorneys involved in the case prior to the GBI taking over.
In the disturbing video taken by Bryan, Arbery and Travis McMichael can be seen fighting over McMichael’s shotgun as McMichael shoots him three times. Arbery spins around, tries to run but falls to the pavement.
The elder McMichael, who has ties to the police department, told law enforcement on the scene that he saw Arbery running through the neighborhood and thought he resembled a suspect that was responsible for recent break-ins.
Lawyers for the McMichals say their clients are innocent and that the full story will come out at trial.
With tensions already running so high in Brunswick and the rest of the country, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that the state will do “whatever is necessary to keep the peace.”
What started out as peaceful protests last week over police brutality and the tragic deaths of Arbery, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., took a destructive turn when hundreds of stores were looted, cars were set on fire, and protesters and police officers squared off, sometimes violently.
Georgia was not exempt from the destruction and chaos that took place coast to coast. In Atlanta, about a four-hour drive from Glynn County, a peaceful rally on Friday devolved into a night of chaos that led to protesters torching a police car and breaking into nearby businesses.
Kemp issued a stern warning to protestors hellbent on creating havoc near Glynn County.
“We will take the appropriate actions to hold bad actors accountable if they try to infiltrate what has been very peaceful gatherings in that community (Brunswick/Glynn County) for well over a month now,” Kemp said.
A rally is planned at the Glynn County Courthouse hours after Thursday’s scheduled hearing for the McMichaels and Bryan.