Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr asked the Department of Justice on Sunday to conduct an investigation into the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case.
Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was shot and killed in February while jogging through a neighborhood in the city of Brunswick, Ga. His death sparked a national outcry and demands for justice after a cellphone video of the shooting began circulating online last week.
On Thursday, two men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, who is 34, were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The arrests came two days after state authorities took over the case from local law enforcement — and 10 weeks after Arbery’s death.
McMichael, a retired police detective, told authorities that he and his son pursued Arbery because they believed he had been involved in local burglaries.
Prior to the state’s takeover of the investigation, the case had landed on the desk of three separate district attorneys. The first recused herself because the father had previously worked in her office as an investigator.
A second district attorney was appointed but recused himself at the request of Arbery’s family. He then wrote a lengthy letter saying, “We do not see grounds for an arrest of any of the three parties.”
A third district attorney was appointed to the case and asked for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to step in after video of the altercation and shooting became public.
“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset. 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,” Carr said in a statement.
Carr highlighted a lack of information given to his office about involvement from various people involved in the case — including one of the suspects, who had previously investigated Arbery in a different legal matter.
In a statement, attorneys for Arbery’s mother and father praised the attorney general’s request for a Justice Department investigation.
“We are pleased that Georgia AG Chris Carr has officially asked the Dept. of Justice to investigate the handling, and potential cover-up, of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder,” wrote S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart. ” … There are far too many questions about how this case was handled and why it took 74 days for two of the killers to be arrested and charged in Mr. Arbery’s death.”