Before recusing himself from the case over a conflict of interest, a Georgia prosecutor told the police that the killing of Ahmaud Arbery was “justifiable homicide.”
After the Feb. 23 shooting of the unarmed black man by two white men — one a former police officer — District Attorney George Barnhill sent a five-point letter setting out why the men should not be charged, according to reports.
Barnhill told police there was insufficient evidence to charge the two men, Gregory McMichael, 64, the former cop, and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael.
“Detectives met with DA George Barnhill Sr. of the Waycross Judicial Circuit the following day and reviewed their findings with him,” said the statement, published Saturday by The Brunswick News. “DA Barnhill, Sr., advised the detectives before noon on Feb. 24, that the act was justifiable homicide and for detectives to continue their investigation and provide him with lab reports and any additional information.”
“In this letter, DA Barnhill, Sr., notes, ‘I appreciate there is immediate pressure on your department as to the issue of arrest,’” the statement said. “DA Barnhill, Sr.’s letter makes five points regarding the case and concludes that there was insufficient probable cause to issue arrest warrants at that time.”
Barnhill recused himself from the case on April 6 because his son is currently a prosecutor in the Brunswick district attorney’s office, where Gregory McMichael once worked as an investigator. The letter appears to have been written before video of the incident surfaced, igniting a public firestorm.
The McMichaels were arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Thursday night and charged with murdering Arbery.
Arbery, a former football player, was reportedly jogging in the daytime in the Satilla Shores neighborhood when the McMichaels confronted him, according to the GBI.
The 32-second video (WARNING: GRAPHIC) recently posted online — allegedly shot from behind by a friend of the McMichaels — shows a black man jogging down a residential street. In front of him is a pickup truck with two white men. The man veers off the road to go around the truck on the shoulder, and the camera loses sight of all three.
When the camera returns to the scene, the black man is near the front of the truck and a gunshot is heard. The jogger and one of the men are seen struggling over a long gun, a shotgun or a rifle. They move out of the frame again and another gunshot is heard. When they both come back into frame, the long-barreled gun is being held to the jogger’s midsection and a third shot rings out.
Seconds later, the jogger collapsed in the road.
President Trump on Friday said a video that appears to show the killing is “very, very disturbing.”
“I saw the tape and it’s very, very disturbing, the tape,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.” “I got to see it, it’s very disturbing.”
“I looked at a picture of that young man. He was in a tuxedo … I will say that that looks like a really good young guy,” Trump said. “It’s a very disturbing situation to me and my heart goes out to the parents and the family and the friends, but yet we have to take it, law enforcement is going to look at it.”
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.