Georgia prosecutor booked into jail for attempting to prevent arrests in Ahmaud Arbery case

Georgia prosecutor booked into jail for attempting to prevent arrests in Ahmaud Arbery case
The shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. Social media video

The former district attorney charged with prosecutorial misconduct in the Ahmaud Arbery case was booked into a Georgia jail on Wednesday, the same day three men were convicted of murdering Arbery, who was killed while out for a jog.

Former Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney Jackie Johnson turned herself in the day before Thanksgiving at the Glynn County jail and was later released on her own recognizance, after being indicted last week for violating her oath of office — a felony — and obstructing police — a misdemeanor. She allegedly used her authority to discourage police from making arrests in Arbery’s killing

Three men — Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan — were found guilty of murder on November 24. They were not charged in the killing for 74 days and only after public outcry following the leak of a video of the deadly confrontation.

A grand jury indicted Johnson last week. Johnson was the region’s top prosecutor when three white men chased and fatally shot Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, last year. The indictment alleges she used her position to discourage police from making arrests in Arbery’s killing.

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Greg McMichael and his grown son, Travis McMichael, armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck on Feb. 23, 2020, after they spotted Arbery running in their neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Savannah.

A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a shotgun. Greg McMichael told police they suspected Arbery was a burglar and Travis McMichael shot him in self-defense.

Prosecutors have said that Arbery was unarmed and was carrying no stolen items when he was killed.

The McMichaels and Bryan weren’t charged in the killing until over two months later, after the video was leaked online and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case.

Greg McMichael worked for Johnson as an investigator in the district attorney’s office before retiring in 2019. Phone records introduced in court show he called Johnson and left her a voicemail soon after the shooting.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s office is prosecuting Johnson. Carr said the first outside prosecutor he appointed to handle the case had been recommended by Johnson, who never told him she had already asked that prosecutor to advise police in the immediate aftermath of Arbery’s killing.

That outside prosecutor, Waycross District Attorney George Barnhill, later recused himself — but not before sending a letter to police saying he believed Arbery’s shooting was justified.

Johnson was defeated in her bid for reelection last year.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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