Ex-Georgia DA Indicted for Allegedly Showing 'Favor & Affection' Toward Ahmaud Arbery Murderers
01:57 GMT 03.09.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael violently pursued Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery in their pickup truck on February 23, 2020, and ultimately shot him. Arbery's family stated he was out jogging, while the McMichaels, who are white, claimed he was a burglar.
A grand jury indicted a former Georgia district attorney on Thursday, alleging that she showed "favor and affection" to the men suspected of killing Ahmaud Arbery last year, the state's attorney general office has revealed.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement that former prosecutor Jacquelyn Lee Johnson had been indicted on charges of violating a public official's oath and obstructing a police officer. At the time of Arbery's murder, Johnson was the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney. Johnson was defeated in her reelection bid in November.
"Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly," Carr is quoted in the press release as saying. "We thank the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Glynn County Grand Jury for their hard work. While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice."
Carr's office also stated that it will continue to look into the matter.
© AFP 2023 / Glynn County Sheriff's Office / AFPThis combination of handout photos created on June 24, 2020 using booking photos released by the Glynn County Sheriff's Office in Georgia shows (from L) William Roderick Bryan, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael.
This combination of handout photos created on June 24, 2020 using booking photos released by the Glynn County Sheriff's Office in Georgia shows (from L) William Roderick Bryan, Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael.
© AFP 2023 / Glynn County Sheriff's Office / AFP
According to the indictment sheet, Johnson is accused of "showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation." She is also accused of obstructing two officers by "directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest."
Days after the fatal shooting, Johnson recused herself from the case. Before retiring in May 2019, George McMichael, a former Glynn County, Georgia, police officer, worked as an investigator in her office for more than 30 years.
Johnson also allegedly sought assistance from Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill, whom she urged to take over the case when she stepped down, without disclosing her past talks with Barnhill, according to the indictment.
In April this year, Barnhill recused himself and reportedly defended the McMichaels in a letter to the police captain, claiming that the father and son had "solid first hand probable cause" to suspect Arbery was a burglar.
If convicted, Johnson faces a term of 1 to 5 years for violating a public officer's oath and up to a year for obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer, which is treated as a misdemeanor.
12 May 2021, 04:08 GMT
In May, the three men charged with Arbery's murder, including William Bryan, who was also at the scene, pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges, which sparked national outcry since the trio were not apprehended until a video recording of the shooting was released after several months.
The three suspects claimed they were trying a citizen's arrest on Arbery when he was slain, and that they were acting in self-defense. Arbery's death was largely seen as a modern-day lynching.