Feds Look Into Arbery Murder as Hate Crime

State officials could also face charges

May 26, 2020
Travis McMichael (l), Gregory Michael (m), and William "Roddie" Bryant are charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, GA on February 23, 2020.

(Photo Credit: Glynn County Sheriff's Department)

Why did it take so long for arrests to be made in the Ahmaud Arbery death case?  That’s among the answers the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking in the matter of the 25 year old black man who was seen being shot to death in a video. They are considering filing charges against officials for their role in delaying the case. Prosecutors Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill recused themselves.

Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed on February 23, 2020 on a street in the South Georgia town of Brunswick.
(Photo Credit: Family)

Arbery was shot and killed on February 23, 2020 on a street in the South Georgia town of Brunswick.

A joint statement from attorneys S. Lee Merritt, L. Chris Stewart, and Benjamin Crump says:

 "The mother and father of Ahmaud Arbery and their legal team met with officials from the Dept. of Justice late last week, including Bobby Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. According to Mr. Christine, his office is investigating why it took so long to arrest the individuals responsible for Mr. Arbery's death.  This would involve the consideration of both civil and criminal charges against state officials and other conspirators involved in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. We left that meeting feeling satisfied that the DOJ would do their part to fully investigate all players involved in this murder and that they would hold those responsible accountable." 

The Feds are also looking into whether Arbery’s death should be categorized as a hate crime. The Justice Department issued a statement:

“The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia have been supporting and will continue fully to support and participate in the state investigation. We are assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes charges are appropriate. In addition, we are considering the request of the Attorney General of Georgia and have asked that he forward to federal authorities any information that he has about the handling of the investigation. We will continue to assess all information, and we will take any appropriate action that is warranted by the facts and the law.”

Gregory and Travis McMichael are charged with murder and aggravated assault. They were arrested on May 7. The man behind the video, William “Roddie” Bryant was arrested on May 21. He’s charged with murder and attempted false imprisonment.

The McMichaels claimed to have gone after Arbery in their truck because they suspected him of burglary. The video shows Arbery trying to avoid the men, yet is fatally shot. While Bryant contended that he was an innocent bystander, a statement in the incident report indicated that Bryant had tried to block Arbery with his vehicle more than once.