BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A white Georgia man didn’t know if Ahmaud Arbery was armed or where he was running last year whenhe grabbed his gun and began chasing the 25-year-old Black man, an officer testified Tuesday.
Greg McMichael is one of three white men charged with murder in Arbery’s death early last year in this small, coastal Georgia city. Arbery was shot by McMichael’s son, Travis, after they and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan spotted him running in their neighborhood.
Jeff Brandenberry, a Glynn County police officer, told jurors Tuesday he interviewed Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for the Brunswick district attorney’s office and a former Glynn County police officer, at the scene of the shooting.
McMichael told Brandenberry he believed Arbery was responsible for break-ins in the neighborhood and got his own weapon before pursuing him because he didn’t know if Arbery was armed.
“I don’t take any chances,” McMichael told Brandenberry, according to a transcript of Brandenberry’s body-camera video.
“I don’t know where (Arbery) was coming from down there,” McMichael told Brandenberry. McMichael answered the question “No.” I don’t know. I mean I couldn’t tell if it’s one on him or not.”
McMichael’s murder suspect was Parker Marcy from Glynn County police department. Marcy interviewed McMichael later in the day at police headquarters. Greg McMichael previously reported the theft of a gun from his car before the shooting.
“So now we’ve got a missing weapon, and the possibility in my mind that the guy that’s been breaking in down the road there may have that weapon,” McMichael told Marcy, according to a transcript of the interview.
According to Brandenberry’s transcript, Greg McMichael claimed that he had checked Arbery out for weapons after the shooting. Later, Greg McMichael said to a witness that Arbery had “attacked his son.”
“To be perfectly honest with you, if I could have got a shot at the guy, I’d have shot him myself because he was that violently —” McMichael told Brandenberry before being interrupted by a bystander, according to the body-camera transcript.
In opening statements, attorneys for Greg and Travis McMichael argued that their clients followed Arbery in Travis’ pickup truck to detain Arbery for police questioning. The attorneys said Arbery ultimately ran toward Travis, who fired his gun in self-defense. Bryan recorded video that appears to show Arbery sprinting past Travis’ truck, turning left and pointing a gun towards Arbery.
While the prosecution claims that Arbery was under attack and trying to flee,Prosecutors say Arbery committed no crimes and was killed because the three defendants made a series of “assumptions” about what Arbery was doing in their neighborhood that day.
Now, the trial has entered its second week with witness testimony. So far, the jury has heard from six witnesses for the prosecution – all law enforcement officers – and have seen a series of graphic photographs and videos from the day of the shooting.
Prosecutors showed jurors video clips from the open house of a neighbor on Tuesday afternoon. The home had been in construction for several months.
Arbery can often be seen walking around the site. Marcy denied that Arbery had taken anything from the house when Marcy was asked by prosecutors.
Marcy’s transcript from McMichael’s interview shows that Marcy inquired McMichael about Arbery picking up anything at the construction site. McMichael replied: “You know. Not that I remember.” I don’t think the guy has actually stolen anything out of there, or if he did, it was early in the process.”
The trial is taking place in Glynn County. While more than 26% of residents in the county are Black and more than 55% of residents in Brunswick are Black, just one juror is Black, based on information available to reporters. The court refused to reveal details regarding race and age.
Continue reading:Neighbor ‘cornered’ Arbery before he was fatally shot, officer says in murder trial
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