As the three men involved in the death of Ahmaud Arbery are awaiting trial, more information is coming out about what happened at the crime scene.
According to CNN, during a Friday (November 13) bond hearing, a voicemail was played of Gregory McMichael, who worked as an investigator at the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for over 20 years, calling his former boss D.A. Jackie Johnson for “advice” after killing Arbery.
“Jackie, this is Greg,” McMichael is heard saying, “Could you call me as soon as you possibly can? My (inaudible) and I been involved in a shooting and I need some advice right away. Could you please call me, as soon as you possibly can? Thanks. Bye.”
Prosecutor Jesse Evans said about the call, “This evidence shows from day one there was an attempt by these defendants to influence and obstruct the investigation of this case.”
Arbery, whose life ended at only 26 years old, was killed on February 23 by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael. Arbery and Travis McMichael got into a scuffle where they wrestled over McMichael’s gun, which discharged a fatal shot. Another man, William Bryan, followed them and recorded the incident.
Jackie Johnson recused herself from the case early on during the investigation. She reportedly assigned George E. Barnhill, who was later dismissed, as the second prosecutor. According to the New York Times, Barnhill claimed the McMichaels were in their rights to pursue “a burglary suspect,” and justified in using “deadly force to protect himself” under Georgia law.
Back in May, Wanda Jones-Cooper, Arbery’s mother, said she began researching Barnhill’s connection to the gunmen, “I learned that there was some relationships between the D.A. in Glynn County and Ware County. I did that just by going on the internet and looking on Facebook and finding that these people were actually friends. … And then I found out his son was actually working at the DA there.”
Glynn County commissioners claimed that Johnson’s office told them not to make arrests—allegations the D.A.’s office deemed a “vicious lie.”
Joyette M. Holmes, who is a Black woman, is the latest D.A. presiding over the case. Jackie Johnson was actually voted out of office on November 3.
The father and son have been charged with murder and aggravated assault. In addition, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, court filing claims that Travis McMichael posted a “racial highway video Facebook post,” “a Racial Johnny Rebel Facebook post” and sent a racist text message in 2019.
His father also reportedly posted a “Identity Dixie Facebook post” and “Racial Johnny Rebel Facebook post.”
A separate court filing from prosecutors also asked “to prohibit the defense from introducing bad character evidence about Arbery at trial. This includes his past convictions, prior encounters with law enforcement and his mental health history.”
The McMichaels were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7, which was 73 days after Arbery was killed. They were denied bond last week.
William Bryan has been charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment charges. He has already been denied bond. He also faces possible hate crime charges and is currently under investigation for sex crimes. The state wants to “introduce unspecified racist messages extracted from Bryan’s cell phone. The details of these text messages and Facebook posts are not public.
BET has been covering every angle of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.