Feds probing Ahmaud Arbery slaying, family lawyer saysby Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
The US Justice Department has launched an investigation into the shooting death of unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia, a lawyer for the victim’s family said Monday.
Attorney S. Lee Merritt said he was assured by government officials that the FBI and federal prosecutors would seek both civil and criminal charges in Arbery’s Feb. 23 shooting by ex-cop Gregory McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael.
“This case makes it clear that all black citizens in South Georgia aren’t getting the same protection under the law,” Merritt said on TMZ Live.
“If you shoot anybody in the street in broad daylight, just in general you expect at least an arrest. There were no arrests made. We went for three months without any major arrests.”
Merritt said federal agents “are spreading the net here.”
Merritt said the federal probe will include a review of local police and prosecutors accused of attempting to bury the case, CBS News reported.
The announcement comes two weeks after the justice department said it was considering whether to jump into the case to pursue hate crime charges.
Georgia is one of four US states without a state hate crime law.
Arbery, 25, was shot and killed during a confrontation with the McMichaels and a third man, William “Roddie” Bryan, who filmed the fatal incident.
The case lingered for weeks without arrests, as two local prosecutors recused themselves because of ties to Gregory McMichael, a former Glynn County cop and retired investigator with the Brunswick prosecutor’s office.
But Bryan’s video of the shooting went public earlier this month and sparked national outrage.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the state’s law enforcement agency, charged the McMichaels with murder on May 9.
Last week, Bryan was also arrested on murder charges.