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‘Hunted Down Like an Animal’: Graphic Video of Ahmaud Arbery’s Death Sparks Calls for Arrests

[Warning: the video is disturbing]

The death of a Georgia man has led to accusations that this was a “modern-day lynching.” Attorneys for the victim’s family say 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was murdered while jogging, and that authorities have failed to bring those responsible to justice.

As seen on video, Arbery was killed in a confrontation with two men on February 23 in the city of Brunswick. But on Tuesday–months later now–Tom Durden, the district attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit, said he will ask a grand jury to consider the case against the individuals identified as the shooters: former police officer Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael. That will take a while, however. Local grand juries aren’t currently being impaneled until least June 12 amid the pandemic, according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

The case hit on a fraught cultural fissure. Arbery was black. The McMichaels are white.

Gregory McMichael allegedly believed that the victim was the suspect from burglaries in the area, according to a Glynn County police affidavit obtained by CBS This Morning. He claimed that he and his son tried to stop Arbery to talk to him, and he said that Arbery attacked son Travis McMichael.

The case is on its third prosecutor, with the first two stepping back because of conflicts of interest. The first of them concluded that Travis McMichael was acting in self-defense. But video apparently shows a very different story. S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, says the video shows a murder, and that the McMichaels had no reason to think they had the right to stop him with weapons or to use deadly force. He demanded that they be arrested.

“There is no reasonable argument justifying the murder of Mr. Arbery,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “Brunswick Police Department’s failure to arrest these men after seeing this evidence violated their duty to the people of Brunswick, Georgia. While this video was withheld, a false narrative was constructed where the victim was slandered as criminal with mental health concerns. The Glynn County Police Department has both the authority and legal imperative to make an arrest today pending the presentation of this case to a grand jury.”

Lee said that law enforcement previously snubbed the Arbery family’s requests to see the footage, and the video ended up being posted anonymously to the internet. The shooting has since been widely shared online.

Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones was asked what she hoped the footage would prove.

“Proves that my son was not committing a crime,” she said on CBS This morning. “He was out for his daily jog, and he was hunted down like an animal and killed.”

The McMichaels declined to comment in the CBS story. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday that they have now been asked to investigate the death.

[Screengrab via Benjamin Crump]

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