0332 GMT July 13, 2020
Hundreds of people came to the Glynn County courthouse demanding accountability for a case in which charges weren’t filed until state officials stepped in after a leaked video sparked national outrage, The Associated Press reported.
Arbery, 25, was killed on February 23 just outside the port city of Brunswick. Gregory McMichael, 64, told police he and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, pursued Arbery because they believed he was responsible for recent break-ins in the neighborhood.
The McMichaels weren’t arrested and charged with murder until May 7, after a video of the shooting was publicly released to a local radio station and less than 48 hours after state agents took over the case.
“Justice for Ahmaud is more than just the arrests of his killers,” said John Perry, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Brunswick at the Saturday rally. “Justice is saying that we’ve got to clean up the house of Glynn County.”
Speakers at the rally demanded the resignation of Jackie Johnson, the district attorney for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit who recused herself from the investigation, and George Barnhill, the Waycross circuit district attorney who took over the case and declined to press charges. Gregory McMichael was an investigator in Johnson’s office before retiring last May. Both Johnson and Barnhill have denied wrongdoing.
Organizers of the rally said around 250 vehicles drove more than four hours from Atlanta for the rally, bringing historically black fraternities and sororities, civil rights organizations and black-led gun rights groups, who said if Arbery had armed himself, he might be alive today.
Attorney Mawuli Davis came from his suburban Atlanta home because he wanted to make it clear how many people are not satisfied with how the Arbery case has been handled.
“Georgians are just not safe when you allow an injustice like this to take place,” said Davis, who is an organizer with the Black Man Lab in Decatur, Georgia.