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Father, son arrested and charged in killing of Ahmaud Arbery, GBI says

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday night that agents had arrested Gregory and Travis McMichael for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

Ahmaud Arbery was killed on Feb. 23 in Brunswick, Georgia. Cellphone video surfaced this week that showed the alleged moment two white men in a pickup truck track him down and shoot him while he was jogging and unarmed on a residential street.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, have admitted to grabbing guns and pursuing Arbery as he jogged in their neighborhood, according to police records.

The GBI said the men were also charged with aggravated assault. The McMichaels were taken into custody and will be booked into the Glynn County Jail.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Gov. Brian Kemp had strong words about the killing of Arbery.

“Earlier this week, I watched a video depicting Mr. Arbery’s last moments alive. It is absolutely horrific, and Georgians deserve answers,” Kemp said. “I have confidence in Vic Reynolds and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. I know they will work around the clock to thoroughly and independently investigate Mr. Arbery’s death to find the truth. In these moments, please pray for his loved ones, the local community, and our state.”

Following the GBI’s announcement of the arrests, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr released a statement, saying, in part: “This tragedy cannot be undone, but this is the first step in what I am confident will be a swift road to justice.”

“Prosecutors will need a grand jury in order to formally indict these men, but that has nothing to do with actually going out an arresting the men seen on camera murdering a 25-year-old unarmed black man,” Merritt said.

According to a police report, the men said they were looking for someone they suspected was breaking into homes.

“I’m out here in Saillita Shores, there’s a black male running down the street,” a caller to 911 said before the shooting.

McMichael used to work in county law enforcement with his son Travis. Travis McMichael is seen holding a shotgun and getting into the struggle with Arbery. He claims he fired in self defense.

Prosecutors said the coronavirus is hampering the efforts to indict the men.

“The prosecutors actually have the option if they so chose to, to directly indict, and skip the entire grand jurial process. It’s something that happens all the time in our legal system and this would certainly be an appropriate moment as well,” Merritt said.

Cooper-Jones said she believes there haven’t been any arrests in the case because of McMichael’s past history in law enforcement.

“I think that no arrests have been made basically of the title that he carried, as a retired police officer. I think they don’t feel like he was wrong, because he was one of them,” Cooper-Jones said.

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