Ahmaud Arbery killing being investigated as federal hate crime, family attorney says

Cheryl Sanders
May 26, 2020

Lee Merritt, the attorney for Ahmaud Arbery's family, appeared on TMZ Live and revealed that the FBI is investigating 2 district attorneys and members of the police department who allegedly covered up Ahmaud's killing.

CNN has reached out to Christine for comment.

Arbery, who was black, was jogging outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23 when Gregory McMichael and his son, who are white, chased him after him, authorities said.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were not officially charged by Georgia prosecutors in the alleged murder of Arbery until almost three months after his death.

PBS News correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reported that Christine met with Arbery's parents on Thursday and told them the Justice Department was investigating the law enforcement response for "possible equal protection violations". "There were no arrests made-we went for three months without any major arrest". The McMichaels and a third man, who recorded the shooting, have since been arrested on charges including murder, after videos of the killing circulated on social media. A neighbor later told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the suspects confronted Arbery at the site days before the shooting.

The DOJ has not confirmed the hate-crime investigation.

Travis McMichael was charged with murder and aggravated assault, and his father was charged with party to murder and aggravated assault.

But Bryan's video of the shooting went public earlier this month and sparked national outrage. Bryan has claimed he had "nothing to do" with Arbery's death.

HB 426, the latest proposed hate crimes bill, was introduced with bipartisan support a year ago and passed the state house of representatives. The Anti-Defamation League has joined a coalition of 35 advocacy groups known as Hate Free Georgia to call for HB 426 to pass; the bill would mandate enhanced sentencing for defendants convicted of targeting a victim due to their "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origins, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability".

While states are the primary prosecutors of hate crimes, the federal government also has the authority to bring charges under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Only after the leaking of the video months later did the Georgia Bureau of Investigation file murder charges against the McMichaels.

The Justice Department is investigating the killing of Ahmaud Arbery as a possible hate crime, multiple news outlets reported Monday. Prosecutor George Barnhill, who has since recused himself from the case, told police there was "insufficient probable cause".

Other reports by iNewsToday