Former Georgia District Attorney Indicted for Obstruction in Arbery Case

Former Georgia District Attorney Indicted for Obstruction in Arbery Case Demonstrators gather at the Glynn County courthouse Demonstrators gather at the Glynn County courthouse during a court appearance by Gregory and Travis McMichael, two suspects in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Rich McKay Friday, 03 September 2021 07:52 AM

A Georgia grand jury indicted a former district attorney on Thursday on two charges stemming from her delay in charging suspects captured on video fatally shooting a Black man as he was out jogging in the coastal city of Brunswick.

The men accused of the Feb. 23, 2020, killing of Ahmaud Arbery were not arrested until weeks after the release of the video, which sparked outrage across the country. Civil rights activists said it marked another example of a targeted attack on a Black man.

The video showed Arbery, 25, jogging down a two-lane street, then being shot with a rifle as he was confronted by two men who had stopped their pickup in his path. A third man in another truck shot phone video of the incident.

Former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson told Glynn County police to make no arrests in the case, according to the indictment, which says she showed favor toward one of the men accused of the shooting, a former Glynn County police officer with whom she worked.

The indictment also alleges that she failed "to treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity."

After the video was released, Johnson recused herself from the case, and another prosecutor indicted the murder suspects. Johnson lost her bid for re-election last November.

Johnson was charged with obstruction of a police officer and violating her oath of office. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a statement issued by her office when the investigation started, Johnson's office said: "We are confident that any investigation will show that our office acted appropriately under the circumstances."

The statement added: "There is a public misconception about this case due to false allegations against our office by those with an agenda."

The former police officer, Gregory McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and William "Roddie" Bryan, 51, are each charged with felony murder, federal hate crimes and other charges in Arbery's death. All have pleaded not guilty and are set to go to trial in October.