Georgia's attorney general has requested a formal DOJ investigation into the handling of Ahmaud Arbery's killing

People return to their vehicles after gathering to honor the life of Ahmaud Arbery at Sidney Lanier Park on May 9, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia.Sean Rayford/Getty Images
  • Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has formally requested a US Department of Justice investigation into the handling of Ahmaud Arbery's case.
  • Arbery, 25, was fatally shot while on a jog outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23. Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested for his murder on May 7.
  • "We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset," Carr said in a statement.
  • Several officials handling Arbery's case later recused themselves, citing apparent conflicts of interest.
  • Gregory McMichael worked in the Glynn County District Attorney's office for decades.
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Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has formally requested a US Department of Justice investigation into the handling of Ahmaud Arbery's case.

Arbery, 25, was fatally shot while on a jog outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23 but it would take more than two months for his alleged attackers to be arrested and charged.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested and charged with murder on May 7. The shooting was captured on video by a witness in a nearby car and has been widely shared on social media. Advertisement

Arbery's death has prompted a wave of protests and demands for justice. Celebrities and politicians, including NBA superstar LeBron James, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris, spoke out against the crime and how long it has taken for Arbery's case to be reviewed.

On Sunday, Carr announced in a statement that he had formally requested a Justice Department review, led by US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine, into the handling of the case.

"At the time of Mr. Arbery's death and up until May 7, 2020, no arrests were made in the case," the statement said.
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"We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset," Carr said. "The family, the community, and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers."

According to the statement, the investigation would look into discussions between the Office of the District Attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit and the Office of the District Attorney of the Waycross Judicial Circuit in relation to Arbery's case. Carr's office received a request on February 27 from the Office of the District Attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit to appoint another prosecutor⁠ — the District Attorney for the Waycross Judicial Circuit ⁠— in the case. Neither party had revealed to Carr that the Waycross Judicial Circuit prosecutor had already participated in the case by reviewing evidence and advising the Glynn County Police Department on whether to make arrests in the case. Advertisement

George Barnhill, the District Attorney for the Waycross Circuit, and Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson, recused themselves from the case, citing apparent conflicts of interest. Barnhill, whose son works in the Brunswick District Attorney's Office, wrote in a letter to the Glynn County Police Department in April that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in order to protect himself, and cited Arbery's "mental health records and prior convictions" as a possible explanation to his "aggressive nature."

Gregory McMichael, Travis' father, worked in the Glynn County District Attorney's office for decades.

A Glynn County police report said Arbery was shot after struggling with Travis McMichael over his shotgun. According to the report, Gregory McMichael claimed that Arbery appeared to resemble a suspect in a series of break-ins that occurred in the neighborhood. McMichael said that after seeing Arbery in his front yard, he and his son decided to grab their guns and chase him. Advertisement

McMichael claimed that Arbery began to "violently attack Travis" before he was shot and killed. The report said that the department observed Gregory McMichael with Arbery's blood on his hands.

Arbery was unarmed when he was killed.

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