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Ahmaud Arbery: Father and son charged with murder of US black jogger

Date Added: May 09, 2020 04:19:05 AM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: News & References: Breaking News

A father and son have been arrested and charged in the US state of Georgia for the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man.

Gregory McMichael, aged 64, and Travis McMichael, aged 34, were detained on Thursday by the state bureau of investigation.

Both were charged with murder and aggravated assault, investigators said in a statement.

Mr Arbery, 25, was jogging in February when he was confronted by the pair.

For more than two months, police did not charge the McMichaels, who are white, until the shooting gained widespread attention in the national media and provoked outrage.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced late on Thursday that both men had been taken into custody. The bureau said the father and son followed Mr Arbery and confronted him with two firearms, and the younger McMichael shot and killed him.

How did Arbery die?
Mr Arbery was out running in the coastal city of Brunswick early in the afternoon of 23 February. Gregory McMichael told police he saw Mr Arbery and believed he resembled the suspect in a series of local break-ins.

Mr McMichael and his son armed themselves with a pistol and a shotgun and pursued Mr Arbery in a pick-up truck. Gregory McMichael told police he and his son said "stop, stop, we want to talk to you" and claims Mr Arbery then attacked his son.

Video footage of the incident appears to show Travis McMichael firing a shotgun at point blank range at Mr Arbery and the victim falling to the street, in the Satilla Shores neighbourhood.

Mr Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, said police told her after the shooting that her son had been involved in a burglary before the incident, but the family say they do not believe the keen jogger had committed a crime. He was unarmed and carrying nothing.

A number of calls were made to police around the time of the confrontation, according to a CBS News report. In one 911 call, a neighbour said a black man was seen at a home under construction in the area. When asked what the man was doing now, the caller said "running down the street".

Mobile phone video of the shooting incident has now emerged. The footage, apparently filmed by another man in the neighbourhood, appears to show the McMichaels waiting for Mr Arbery as he jogs down the road in broad daylight.

The 36-second clip was shot from a vehicle following the pick-up truck said to be involved in the incident.

Mr Arbery is seen jogging and then approaching the stationary pick-up from behind. He then tries to bypass the truck and is seen struggling with a man carrying a shotgun - believed to be Travis McMichael. There is muffled shouting and shotgun shots.

A second man is standing in the bed of the pick-up - understood to be Gregory McMichael. The second man is then shown with a pistol standing alongside the other armed man with Mr Arbery no longer in view.

'Lynched before our very eyes'
The victim's father told PBS Newshour on Thursday that his son exercised in the area daily and stayed across the street at his mother's house. "I don't know why they racially profile him and done him like that," said Marcus Arbery, "because all he did is work out and ran and just took care of his body, because he had dreams now."

Asked about the suggestion that his son could have been implicated in a burglary, Mr Arbery said that was "just a lie and a cover-up".

"The video speaking everything for itself," he said. "Check that lynch mob out."

The family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said the footage showed a "horrific execution". The attorney also claimed Gregory McMichael was not initially charged because he had worked as a police officer and a detective for the local district attorney for more than 30 years.

The shooting has led to a wave of outrage from national figures, including presidential candidate Joe Biden and basketball star LeBron James. Mr Biden said Mr Arbery had been "shot down in cold blood" and "essentially lynched before our very eyes".

"This family and the country deserves justice and they deserve it now. They deserve a transparent investigation of this brutal murder. But our nation deserves it as well. We need to reckon with this, this goes on. These vicious acts call to mind the darkest chapters of our history," Mr Biden said.
~ Via BBC