Ahmaud arbery
Ahmaud arbery
Photo Credit: Ahmaud Arbery Family

What You Need to Know About the Shooting Death of Ahmaud Arbery

Trigger Warning: The below video depicts graphic violence and death.

On Tuesday, May 5th, Georgia district attorney Tom Durden announced that he expects to present the case of the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery to the next available grand jury. The announcement comes after a local radio host posted a video of the shooting.

The case has picked up steam in the last two months.

What happened to Ahmaud Arbery?

On February 23, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead in Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery — who was a former high school athlete — was jogging in a neighborhood not far from his home at the time.

Gregory McMichael — a resident of the neighborhood — told officers that he thought Arbery resembled a man suspected in a string of break-ins in the neighborhood. McMichael saw Arbery "hauling ass" and called his son Travis to attempt to stop and question him. According to the police report, the younger McMichael brought his shotgun with him. The elder brought a handgun.

The two jumped in their truck, following Arbery to an intersection. Travis got out the truck, shotgun in hand. At that point, Arbery attempted to elude the McMichaels. He failed to escape and engaged in a scuffle with Travis. Arbery was shot three times and died at the scene.

Has there been an arrest for the death of Ahmaud Arbery?

On Thursday, May 7th, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that it has arrested Gregory and Travis for the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

The two were charged with murder and aggravated assault and taken to Glynn County Jail.

For months, no one was arrested or charged in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. The initial prosecutor for the Brunswick judicial district, Jackie Johnson, recused herself because Gregory McMichael had worked in her office as an investigator before he retired.

George E. Barnhill, the district attorney in Waycross, Ga., then recused himself next after the Arbery family pointed out he had a son that works as an assistant prosecutor for Johnson.

According to the New York Times, before leaving the case, Barnhill wrote a letter obtained by The Times that there was not enough evidence to arrest Gregory or Travis McMichael. He sited a law saying, “A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge.” He also wrote both men were legally carrying their firearms under Georgia’s open carry law.

What is Ahmaud Arbery's family saying?

On Sunday, May 3rd, Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper told CNN that when the police notified her, they told her Ahmaud was involved in a burglary. Officers said there was a confrontation between her son and the homeowner, and a struggle over a gun. "He was not armed," Cooper told CNN.

"All I want to do is get justice for my son," Ahmaud's father Marcus told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "This is terrible. It could happen to anybody's kid."

How did the Ahmaud Arbery video get released?

On Tuesday, local Brunswick radio station WGIG posted a cellphone recording of the incident. Shortly afterward, Atlantic Judicial Circuit district attorney Tom Durden, who is now overseeing the case, announced that he expects to present the case to a Glynn County grand jury as soon as possible. At the moment, courts are prohibited from assembling grand juries until at least June 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WARNING: The video below contains graphic violence.