ahmaud arbery: No arrests, no charges, no local media coverage

The date for the trial of the three men who hunted down Ahmaud Arbery and shot him in the street is October 18, 2021 in the Glynn County Courthouse, Brunswick, Georgia.

For almost three months after Arbery was shot and killed, there were no arrests, no charges brought and almost no local press coverage.  But, one of the men who joined the chase of Arbery as Arbery jogged through a Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood, filmed the chase and the shooting.  When the video went viral, media attention was attracted to the case.  When the GBI took the investigation out of the hands of local officials, charges were brought in days.

The local prosecutor had recused herself from the case almost immediately because one of the men, Gregory McMichaels, had been a police investigator with her office.  She contacted another local prosecutor, and asked him to give advise the police department about the case. 

Waycross DA, George E. Barnhill advised the Glynn County Police Department that the three men appeared to have been acting in self defense. 

The local prosecutor, Jackie Johnson, requested a new prosecutor.  She contacted the state Attorney General who assigned the case to Barnhill.  But, Barnhill’s son, George F. Barnhill, worked as an attorney in the Brunswick DA’s office and the family of Ahmaud Arbery objected to the elder Barnhill’s appointment.  The younger Barnhill had worked with Gregory McMichaels on a case against Ahmaud Arbery years before.

Georgia Attorney General, Chris Carr, then assigned case to Tom Durden, Atlantic Judicial Circuit in Hinesville.  He announced plans in early May to ask a grand jury to consider criminal charges.

Carr made a statement last year that the elder Barnhill did not mention potential conflicts when he was asked to take over the case, nor that he had already offered the police department an “initial opinion.”

The case was later transferred to the Cobb County DA.  That is where it remains.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported in June of 2021 that a grand jury had been convened to investigate the actions of DA Jackie Johnson in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

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