The Southern Poverty Law Center has joined a growing chorus of organizations and individuals wanting to know why three white men who chased down Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black jogger before shooting and killing him, have not been charged with a crime.
“We demand an immediate investigation by federal officials into Ahmaud’s death given local law enforcement’s failure to act. The killing of Black and Brown people must stop, and it begins with each of us demanding accountability and justice,” said SPLC president and CEO Margaret Huang.
Gregory McMichael, 64, a retired Glynn County, Georgia, cop and now an investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, and another man only identified as “Roddy” chased down Arbery, 25, in their truck on February 23 before confronting him and killing him after a neighbor claimed she saw Arbery near a house under construction.
Gregory McMichael was armed with a .357 Magnum revolver and Travis was armed with a shot gun. It is not known what type of weapon Roddy carried.
When the men caught up with Arbery, Travis struggled with Arbery before shooting him twice, killing him.
The New York Times first reported the story about Arbery’s killing in its April 27 edition. The article also reports neighborhood residents demanded to know what The New York Times reporter was up to reporting on the story. Another woman warned the reporter she was armed and had called the police.
Police later determined Travis had a right to defend himself, but they did not say anything about Arbery’s right to defend himself from someone confronting him with a gun or if the three men deliberately provoked Arbery into a fight with deadly consequences.
The older McMichael claims he recognized Arbery from earlier break ins. But police said they have not linked Arbery to neighborhood burglaries. Police said Arbery had minor brushes with the law, including a shoplifting conviction, but it is not known if Arbery had any stolen merchandise on his person when he was killed.
Lee Merritt, Arbery’s family’s lawyer, said in a Facebook post, he believes the McMichaels have not been charged with a crime because the older McMichael is an investigator for the local district attorney’s office.