What we know about Gregory and Travis McMichael, the Georgia men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery

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What we know about Gregory and Travis McMichael, the Georgia men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery
Ahmaud ArberyI RUN WITH MAUD/Facebook
  • Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, the father and son who were involved in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, were arrested Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault.
  • A recently leaked video shows Arbery jogging when a truck pulled up and a man confronted him in close range with a firearm. There is a scuffle and then gunshots. The video shows Arbery stumbling and then falling to the ground.
  • While a local District Attorney, who recused himself from the case, said he didn't believe the men were at fault, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced their arrest Thursday.
  • Gregory McMichael worked in the Glynn County District Attorney's office for decades, and some believe his connection to local law enforcement delayed their arrest.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, the father and son who were involved in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23, were arrested Thursday and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

The arrest came more than two months after Arbery — a 25-year-old black man — was shot and killed while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood. A video of the killing was leaked earlier this week, and sparked national outrage.

Arbery was unarmed when he was killed. The McMichaels were carrying a shotgun and a .357 magnum.

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In the video, Arbery is seen jogging down a road when a truck pulls up a truck pulled up. A man gets out of the truck and confronted him in close range with a firearm. After a short scuffle, gunshots ring out and Arbery is seen falling to the ground.

"You look on that video, and it's like it was a hunting party," Ben Crump, an attorney for Ahmaud's father, Marcus Arbery, previously told Insider.

What we know about Gregory and Travis McMichael, the Georgia men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery
Gregory McMichael, left, and his son Travis McMichael, have been charged with murder in the February shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, whom they had pursued in a truck after spotting him running in their neighborhood.Associated Press

Gregory McMichael, 64, had a long career in law enforcement

Gregory McMichael had worked as an investigator in the Glynn County District Attorney's office for decades until he retired in May 2019, a spokesman for the office told Insider Thursday.

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In Georgia, DA investigators don't have the power to arrest, but work closely with the police department following an arrest, DA spokesman Mark Spaulding told Insider.

They also make decisions related to the charges that a suspect will face in court, and serve subpoenas, he said.

Prior to working for the District Attorney's office, McMichael was a police officer at the Glynn County Police Department.

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Some in Georgia have expressed concerns that delayed prosecution of the McMichaels had to do with the family's connections to local law enforcement, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

After the shooting, Gregory McMichaels' former boss, Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson, recused herself from the case. Waycross Judicial Circuit County's top prosecutor, Roger Barnhill, took over but stepped aside a month later at the request of Arbery's family. Barnhill's son works as a prosecutor in Johnson's office.

In Barnhill's letter recusing himself, however, he wrote in detail about why he didn't believe Gregory McMichael and his son shouldn't be charged with a crime. In it, he said that Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and Bryan William — who filmed the video — were following Arbery in "hot pursuit" because he was a "burglary suspect."

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"It appears their intent was to stop and hold this criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived," Barnhill said. "Under Georgia law, this is perfectly legal."

That falls in line with Greg McMichael's statement to police at the scene, according to a Glynn County Police report.

McMichael told police he recognized Arbery from a surveillance video that captured a recent burglary in his neighborhood.

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McMichael, 64, told police at the time that he grabbed his gun, called out to Travis, and jumped into his pickup truck to follow Arbery.

They caught up to him a few blocks away and Arbery became violent when Travis, 34, confronted him with his gun, Gregory McMichael told police.

Arbery's family's attorney, Lee Merritt, said in a statement that the unarmed former athlete was targeted "solely because of his race and murdered him without justification."

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"These men were not performing any police function or any duty as citizens of Georgia ... these men were vigilantes, they were a posse and they were performing a lynching in the middle of the day," Merritt said.

Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump has also expressed his anguish at the situation.

"Am I upset that it has taken this long for a verdict or the justice part to come? As the Sheriff I am upset," he said at a recent protest. "It shouldn't have taken that long. If that was my son, I'd be upset. I can only imagine what the mother and dad is going through."

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp previously called the video depicting Arbery's death "absolutely horrific" and told reporters that he's confident the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will "find the truth."

"Earlier this week, I watched the video depicting Mr. Arbery's last moments alive," Kemp said at a news conference covered by the Washington Post. "I can tell you it's absolutely horrific, and Georgians deserve answers."

The Attorney representing Arbery's parents said Wednesday that charges also should be pursued against Bryan William, who filmed the video. The police report identifies him as involved in the pursuit of Arbery.

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As of Friday, he had not been charged.

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